In May, after his film “Killers of the Flower Moon” premiered at Cannes, Martin Scorsese announced that he was responding to Pope Francis’ appeal for artists by writing a screenplay about Jesus. This announcement was made at a conference in Rome organized by the Jesuit publication “La Civiltà Cattolica.” The book containing these conversations highlights a chapter by Scorsese titled “Screenplay for a Possible Film on Jesus,” which is a draft that Scorsese gave permission to publish, not the final screenplay he is working on with Kent Jones. This new project is based on Japanese novelist Shūsaku Endō’s book “A Life of Jesus,” and Scorsese reportedly plans to shoot the film later this year.

Scorsese’s interest in making a film about Jesus dates back to when he was a student at New York University. He initially envisioned a modern-day Jesus in New York, but after seeing Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “Gospel According to Matthew,” he shifted his approach. Scorsese has always been drawn to depicting the figure of Jesus and has explored this theme in films like “The Last Temptation of Christ” and “Silence.” His collaboration with Father Antonio Spadaro in working on this new film aims to explore not only the figure of Jesus but also Scorsese’s journey as an artist and his interpretation of his own cinematic production.

In an interview, Spadaro shares his insights into Scorsese’s motivations for making this film. He believes that Scorsese’s interest in responding to Pope Francis’ appeal stems from a long-standing desire he has had to depict the figure of Jesus in a new light. Scorsese’s Catholic upbringing has influenced his view of spirituality and Christianity, and the new film represents an opportunity to revisit and explore these themes. By making religion more accessible and removing the negative associations often associated with organized religion, Scorsese hopes to reconnect with a more positive representation of spirituality that resonates with his personal experiences and upbringing.

Spadaro also points out that the new film about Jesus serves as a reflection not only on the figure of Jesus but also on Scorsese’s cinema as a whole. By revisiting his past work through this new lens, Scorsese’s film is expected to provide insights into his artistic journey and offer a fresh perspective on his body of work. The draft of the screenplay shared by Spadaro features images and references to various cinematic portrayals of Jesus, highlighting the impact that these representations have had on Scorsese’s own perception of the figure.

Ultimately, the significance of Scorsese’s film about Jesus lies in its dual exploration of a timeless religious figure and the artist’s personal and cinematic evolution. Through this project, Scorsese aims to capture the essence of Jesus in a new and contemporary light while also reflecting on his own artistic journey. By engaging with this iconic figure in a fresh and innovative way, Scorsese’s film is poised to offer a unique perspective on spirituality, cinema, and the intersection of both in the modern world.

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