GESÙ (1999)

Film details

Alternative titles

  • JESUS Alternative


Jesus lives with his parents: Mary and his elderly father, Joseph. His friends are Lazarus, Martha and especially Mary of Bethany, who for many years has entertained hopes of marrying him. Overcome by the death of his father, Jesus decides to leave home to find the answers to the questions he has about his life. The first stage on the journey is to the banks of the River Jordan, where he meets his cousin, John the Baptist. Here, during the baptism process, a voice from heaven identifies him as the Son of God. Jesus then faces a difficult period of testing in the wilderness, where he is repeatedly but unsuccessfully tempted by Satan. On his return to civilisation, he begins his public life: the miracle of the Wedding at Cana, where he changes the water into wine, ensures his fame with the people. Some men begin to follow him. It is Jesus himself who calls them: John, Andrew, and then Peter and James. Because of his miracles the crowds acclaim him as the Messiah... But Jesus never loses his simplicity as a man. He preaches to the people and teaches them how to pray. His personality attracts men and women from all walks of life, from the unbelieving Thomas to the tax-collector Matthew, from the subversive Judas to Mary Magdalene, a prostitute. By now, Jesus has gained a certain authority with the people, he has driven out the tradesmen from the Temple, he has pardoned an adulteress before the eyes of those who want to set a trap for him... Having chosen his twelve apostles and tested the faith of those closest to him, Jesus is now ready to tell them what his fate will be, but the announcement of his imminent death, brought about by the treachery of one of his disciples distresses them greatly, as they believe him to be the vehicle for the moral and social revival of the people of Israel. For thirty pieces of silver, Judas sells his Master to his enemies. The Passion begins. Arrested by the Jerusalem religious authorities, Jesus is handed over to Pontius Pilate. The Roman Governor does not seem interested in the case, leaving the prisoner's fate in the hands of Herod and Caiaphas. It is he, however, who decides the fate of the Nazarene. With cold cynicism, Pilate sets things up so that the responsibility rebounds on Caiaphas, in a minority in the Sanhedrin, but compromised by his role of collaborating with the powerful. Jesus, covered in blood, carries the Cross to Calvary and is crucified. Even in everything he has to suffer, and right up to the moment when he breathes his last, he remains distinctly a human being: he suffers, he weeps, he dies. But when his head sags, the earth trembles. When his body is taken down and buried, it seems to be the end. The disciples are shut up in the room of the Last Supper, in disillusionment. But Mary Magdalene, going to the tomb to embalm her Lord's body, returns to the disciples beside herself with joy: she has seen Jesus alive! Peter and John, who are the first to go to the empty tomb, ask themselves: have they taken him away, or has he really risen from the dead, as she said? The question is answered by his appearance in the room of the Last Supper: Jesus has risen, and lives among them, and will do so until the end of time.

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