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Palgrave Macmillan

The Passion of the Christ

ISBN 9780230294349
Publication Date September 2011
Formats Paperback Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Controversies

The Passion of the Christ was the cinematic event of 2004. Its unflinching depiction of the torture and crucifixion of Jesus was praised and deplored in equal measure, and it provoked a nationwide storm of controversy for what many saw as its anti-Semitic portrayal of Jewish religious leaders.

Neal King's study of the controversies over The Passion of the Christ explores how conservative Christians united in support of Mel Gibson and in opposition to liberal, secular and Jewish critics. The resulting public battle over the editing and rating of this film generated more controversy than any other film in recent cinematic history. King chronicles the publicity campaign that helped make The Passion the highest-grossing independent production of all time, and discusses how religious groups inspired ratings boards, media watchdogs and government censors worldwide to break their rules and guidelines about violence and the depiction of religious figures.

King's analysis of the film's narrative and visual style shows how the choices made by director, cast and crew contributed to the biggest argument over Hollywood and anti-Semitism in decades, and how longstanding patterns in the production and marketing of stories of Christ helped one filmmaker to turn his statement of faith into a partisan, blockbuster event.

'Neal King knows more about the making, marketing and reception of The Passion of the Christ than anyone else. He gives us an elegant and perceptive analysis of the controversies that surrounded Gibson's film and a sociological portrait of their origins in the competing objectives of polarized groups. King's book is an essential source on the making and meaning of a film that has been both celebrated and condemned.'
Stephen Prince, author of Firestorm: American Film in the Age of Terrorism

Neal King is Associate Professor of Sociology at Virginia Tech, USA. He is the author of Heroes in Hard Times: Cop Action movies in the U.S. (1999).

NEAL KING is Associate Professor of Sociology at Virginia Tech, USA. He is the author of Heroes in Hard Times: Cop Action movies in the U.S. (1999), co-editor of Reel Knockouts: Violent Women in the Movies (2001), and has published several other studies of violent film genres and social inequality.

Contents
Introduction
A Personal and Procedural Note
PART I: KEY DETAILS
Cast
Crew
Other Details
Ratings, by Nation
PART II: PRODUCTION AND MARKETING
The Turns of Events
The Needs of Groups
The Final Push
PART III: RATING CENSORSHIP
Deference in Hollywood
Support for violence
Defiance in New zealand
Titillation
Horror
The Fate of a Prophet
Conclusion
PART IV: EVANGELICAL RECEPTION
Dangers of Media Violence
Uses of Nedia Violence
The Scholars and Violence
Redemption through Media Violence
Stolen Fire
PART V: THE PLOTTING
Narrative Structure
Character Focus
Undermotivation
PART VI: THE SENTENCING
Synopsis
The Finished Version
Caiphas's Curse
PART VII: CONCLUSION 
PART VIII
Appendix A: Christian Watchdog Sites
Appendix B: References  

Reviews

'Neal King knows more about the making, marketing and reception of The Passion of the Christ than anyone else. He gives us an elegant and perceptive analysis of the controversies that surrounded Gibson's film and a sociological portrait of their origins in the competing objectives of polarized groups. King's book is an essential source on the making and meaning of a film that has been both celebrated and condemned.'- Stephen Prince, author of Firestorm: American Film in the Age of Terrorism
'This book is a means to reignite interest in the film and inspire debate surrounding it. Neal's resurrection of the film may help it take its rightful place in cinematic history.' - Lauren Felton, Filmwerk
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