Some original ideas added to greatest story ever told.
The version reviewed of this movie was the U.S. TV broadcast 4 hour edition in Spanish. As with most religious epics, the clothing was authentic looking and the scenery gorgeous. This had the look of a theatrical film as opposed to its TV origins. What sets the movie apart from others of its ilk is the realistic treatment of Joseph and Mary. In other renditions they are just part of the famous historical story, here they seem more like flesh and blood people who have a real life and real problems. With films dealing with historical characters of the distant past in which only parts of their life are known, the script writer always has the option of using their own imagination to fill in the gaps. And so it is done here, in particular with the 40+ year old Joseph.So this film is not a carbon copy of others but instead filled with original elements. Of course the historians will criticize. The acting is good along with the expressive face of Ana Caterina Morariu as Mary, which has merits unto itself. The music is unobtrusive, the cinematography excels. As with many Italian movies, close-ups and close shots are used frequently. The 4 hour length is a bit too long, so it would be advantageous to watch this in 2 parts if possible. For Franco Nero fans, his role isn't much(he does a good job, though), but it's more than a cameo. He appears in the beginning and again at the 90 minute mark.As far as the film's time-line goes, the Holy Spirit is made known to Mary at the close of the 1st hour, the marriage is at the 80 minute point, and Jesus the boy is at the end of 120 minutes. The story winds up as Jesus is about 10 years old. Perhaps unique to this version of the story is an early encounter between Mary Magdalene and Jesus. Unlike the Mexican film, "Jesus, el Niño Dios(1971)", Jesus the boy only performs one miracle. Similar, though, is his rough treatment by the village kids. And for those interested in the art of dance it is worthwhile to catch the 2 performed here, however brief they are.
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