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Matthew Page Gets Biblical

Season 1, Ep. 53

John Bleasdale talks to Matthew Page about his new book 100 Bible Films.


From The Passion of the Christ to Life of Brian, and from The Ten Commandments to Last Temptation of Christ, filmmakers have been adapting the stories of the Bible for over 120 years, from first time the Höritz Passion Play was filmed in the Czech Republic back in 1897. Ever since, these stories have inspired musicals, comedies, sci-fi, surrealist visions and the avant garde not to mention spawning their own genre, the biblical epic. Filmmakers across six continents and from all kinds of religious perspectives (or none at all), have adapted the greatest stories ever told, delighting some and infuriating others.


100 Bible Films is the indispensible guide to this wide and varied output, providing an authoritative but accessible history of biblical adaptations through one hundred of the most interesting and significant biblical films. Richly illustrated with film stills, this book depicts how such films have undertaken a complex negotiation between art, commerce, entertainment and religion.


Matthew Page traces the screen history of the biblical stories from the very earliest silent passion plays, via the golden ages of the biblical epic, through to more innovative and controversial later films as well as covering significant TV adaptations. He discusses films made not only by some of our greatest filmmakers, artists such as Martin Scorsese, Jean Luc Godard, Alice Guy, Roberto Rossellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Lotte Reiniger, Carl Dreyer and Luis Buñuel, but also those looking to explore their faith or share it with lovers of cinema the world over.

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Dana Stevens on Buster Keaton

Season 1, Ep. 59
Buy the book here. In this genre-defying work of cultural history, the chief film critic ofSlateplaces comedy legend and acclaimed filmmaker Buster Keaton’s unique creative genius in the context of his time.Born the same year as the film industry in 1895, Buster Keaton began his career as the child star of a family slapstick act reputed to be the most violent in vaudeville. Beginning in his early twenties, he enjoyed a decade-long stretch as the director, star, stuntman, editor, and all-around mastermind of some of the greatest silent comedies ever made, includingSherlock Jr.,The General, andThe Cameraman.Even through his dark middle years as a severely depressed alcoholic finding work on the margins of show business, Keaton’s life had a way of reflecting the changes going on in the world around him. He found success in three different mediums at their creative peak: first vaudeville, then silent film, and finally the experimental early years of television. Over the course of his action-packed seventy years on earth, his life trajectory intersected with those of such influential figures as the escape artist Harry Houdini, the pioneering Black stage comedian Bert Williams, the television legend Lucille Ball, and literary innovators like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Samuel Beckett.InCamera Man, film critic Dana Stevens pulls the lens out from Keaton’s life and work to look at concurrent developments in entertainment, journalism, law, technology, the political and social status of women, and the popular understanding of addiction. With erudition and sparkling humor, Stevens hopscotches among disciplines to bring us up to the present day, when Keaton’s breathtaking (and sometimes life-threatening) stunts remain more popular than ever as they circulate on the internet in the form of viral gifs. Far more than a biography or a work of film history,Camera Manis a wide-ranging meditation on modernity that paints a complex portrait of a one-of-a-kind artist.