A Film About Refugees Starring a Black "Jesus" Was Made in Europe

"The New Gospel" is the first European film in which the role of Jesus Christ was played by a black man.

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Swiss director Milo Rau has made a film called "The New Gospel" with a black "Jesus", played by Cameroonian-born political activist and founder of the charity No Cap, Ivan Sagnier. The film is based on the story of contemporary refugees, mostly from Africa, whose labor is exploited in agricultural work in Italy, Deutsche Welle reported.

"The living conditions in the camps in the immediate vicinity of Matera, which in 2019 was one of the two cultural capitals of Europe, reminded the filmmaker of the situation described in the New Testament. 'Roman occupation, disenfranchised people who are exploited', was how the director described it. This is where his concept for a new film called "The New Gospel" emerged. Milo Rau decided to re-tell the story of Jesus Christ with non-professional actors and at the same time to reflect the daily life of refugees," writes the newspaper.

The leading role in the film was played by Ivan Sanier, a Cameroonian-born social activist who opposes the exploitation of farm laborers in Italy. Other roles - the Twelve Apostles, the Pharisees, and the Romans - were played by activists, farmworkers, former prostitutes, and farmers. Professional actors who have appeared in other films about Jesus Christ, such as Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ and Pier Paolo Pasolini's The Gospel According to Matthew, also took part in the project.

As the performer of the role of Jesus told us in an interview, "Jesus was also an activist. He fought for the poor, for migrants and minorities, he fought for everyone. The fact that today I'm fighting for the same thing helped me a lot in interpreting the role.

"The fact that some people were only interested in the color of my skin shocked me," Ivan Sannier, in particular, noted. "It was claimed that a movie with a black Jesus was an insult to Christianity. In my opinion, these are statements of ignorant people who misinterpret the Bible. I believe that Jesus is universal and so is his message. He speaks to people of all religions and is colorblind".

Source: spzh.ru (Russian)

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