“Son of Man,” directed by Mark Dornford-May, written by Mark Dornford-May, Andiswa Kedama and Pauline Malefane of South Africa, is a gripping journey of love, deception and betrayal, “Son of Man” translates Jesus’ life to modern-day South Africa, where a new politics of compassion incites revolution during a military dictatorship.
Mary conceives the Christ child during a militia attack on a grade school, Jesus asks for the surrender of handguns from his apostles, and the angel Gabriel is a precocious child marked with simple white feathers. Equally intriguing is the melding of the crucifixion and resurrection–alluding to the fact that in today’s Africa, political dissidents, as Jesus was, are conveniently made to disappear.
The South African produced film, will premiere on Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. The makers are promoting it as the world’s first black Jesus movie and will have Christ shown as an African revolutionary.
The film was made in the black township near Cape Town. It will challenge the Western views of Jesus as a peaceful and gentle person, not to mention his skin color. It will likely stir up a lot of debate and controversy among Christians. The film undertone is the struggle of political control and equality.
There is another film made in 1974 called “Black Jesus” and it is more related to political commentary than a version of the story of the life of Christ.
About the SDFF in case you do not know:
Founded by Robert Redford in 1981 in the mountains of Sundance, Utah, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated year-round to the development of artists of independent vision and to the exhibition of their new work. Since its inception, the Institute has grown into an internationally recognized resource for thousands of independent artists through its Film Festival and artistic development programs for filmmakers, screenwriters, composers, writers, playwrights and theatre artists. The original values of independence, creative risk-taking, and discovery continue to define and guide the work of Sundance Institute, both with US artists and, increasingly, with artists from other regions of the world.
This years festival will be Jan 19-29, 2006