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Hail Caesar!: Christian spoof, Christian allegory, or both?

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Hail Caesar!: Christian spoof, Christian allegory, or both?

Postby rakovsky » Mon Feb 06, 2017 3:37 pm



The movie depicts, among others, the filming of "Hail Caesar!: A Tale of the Christ". Since the main movie is called "Hail Caesar", maybe that is implying that it's also a movie that is a "tale of the Christ?"

Scarlett Johansen the mermaid as the virgin mary, with the secret child who is orphaned and adopted being like Jesus adopted by Joseph?

Mannix being tempted by Lockheed could be Jesus tempted by Satan?

The Divine Presence is never shown in the movie, nor is Jesus' face, although his back is. Is this implying that the "divine presence" in relation to Jesus was not his person or body, but in his spirit? At one point the comment is made that God is in all of us.

The blond male in the ocean with the 11-12 secret communists could be Jesus in the storm in Galilee. Getting picked up by the sub could be the Ascension. Could the sailor dance scene be suggesting Jesus was gay or that it was "metrosexual", like outwardly gay, but secretly communist?

Clooney getting slapped by the director for professing communism, drinking something that puts him to sleep, and waking up in the company of the 12 underground communists could be a reference to the Passion and Resurrection, whereby Jesus was slapped by a guard, was given something to drink after which he died, and appeared to the disciples. Is this implying that Jesus was only put to sleep? The underground communists are called The Future. Is that saying that communism is spiritually futuristic, or that resurrection will occur in the future?

One review says:
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some of “Hail, Caesar!” is not subtle in the least. It features George Clooney as a manly movie star of the early 1950s named Baird Whitlock, who plays the lead in a deadly sword-and-sandal epic set in the time of Jesus. (Yeah, it’s called “Hail, Caesar!” The subtitle is “A Story of the Christ.”) Baird is one of those postwar actors who became huge by doing exactly what he was told and is now almost forgotten; he isn’t anyone specific from Hollywood history but he’s a little bit Kirk Douglas (except worse), a little bit Victor Mature (except better) and a little bit John Wayne (except not as much of a dick). But don’t assume this is a “Clooney movie”: Baird is not a hero, a villain or even a buffoon, and remains pretty much a cipher throughout the film. It takes him quite a while to figure out that he’s been kidnapped, let alone why or by whom.

Clooney in fact plays the MacGuffin in this movie, to use Hitchcock’s terminology; he’s a plot device around whom the main characters revolve.
...
Amid all the more obvious levels of inversion and subversion and satire at work in “Hail, Caesar!” Eddie may be the most extraordinary of all. Has any movie about Hollywood, ever, depicted a studio boss as a selfless and idealistic figure, and explicitly compared him to Jesus Christ? Only the Coens, I suspect, could come up with such a peculiar and brilliant counter-narrative.

If you think I’m kidding about the Christ part, or if you suspect the Coens would only employ a devout Catholic protagonist as an object of scorn and derision, well, I’m totally not and they actually wouldn’t. Not because the Jewish brothers ..., are all that interested in Roman Catholic faith as such. But it presents an intriguing narrative challenge, and mockery is way too easy.
...
The first shot of the film (if I remember correctly) is the image of Christ on the cross, above the altar where Eddie makes confession — every single day. Even Eddie’s priest tells him that it’s way too often and that his sins barely register, and that’s about as snarky as the movie gets on that issue.
...
I’m not super religious when it comes to spoilers (or when it comes to religion), but it wouldn’t be fair to tell you much about Baird’s kidnapping or what it’s all about. Except — I can’t help myself! — that Herbert Marcuse is involved, and that I believe he is the only real-world individual to be named and portrayed in this movie.

http://www.alternet.org/culture/hail-ca ... t-seems-be

OK, so H.Marcuse is compared to God or else his message is portrayed as direct real truth in that he is the only real individual in the movie as a character, and the movie is otherwise allegorical? That is, what H.Marcuse explains about economics are the real facts of the mechanics of the world?


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Re: Hail Caesar!: Christian spoof, Christian allegory, or bo

Postby rakovsky » Mon Feb 06, 2017 3:48 pm

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Hail, Caesar! happens to be the name of the motion picture Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is in the midst of filming when he's kidnapped from its set; an enthusiastic homage to the whole host of biblical epics Hollywood busied itself with during the '50s and early '60s.

Many featured film's most rugged stars playing wearied Roman commanders converted to Christianity when they fortuitously cross paths with the Son of God; Richard Burton played in the role The Robe, and Robert Taylor the same in Quo Vadis.

However, a key Hail, Caesar! scene we're privy to in the Coens' film seems ripped straight from Ben Hur's celluloid; in which its enslaved titular character (Charlton Heston) is given water by Jesus, whose face is never shown, as Romans stand back in horror and astonishment.

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/hail-caesar-5-movies-to-watch-before-the-coen-brothers-latest-a6881901.html


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Re: Hail Caesar!: Christian spoof, Christian allegory, or bo

Postby rakovsky » Mon Feb 06, 2017 3:53 pm

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Official Poster Art



The Coen Brothers Find Jesus in ‘Hail, Caesar!’


Near the beginning of the Coen Brothers’ new film, Hail, Caesar!, Josh Brolin’s character sits in a dark theater, studying the rough edit of a film still in production. The screen cuts to an actor playing the New Testament character of Saul (eventually known as Paul). As he walks the Damascus road, Saul is met by the Almighty himself. Where an image of God is to be inserted into the movie, a temporary title cuts across the film stock reading: “Divine presence to be shot.”

If the Coen Brothers’ newest comedy could be encapsulated with a single image, it would be an image that hasn’t been filmed yet. For Hail, Caesar!, with all its silliness and absurdity, is about a search for the divine. It’s about locating a presence that isn’t readily seen.
While the Coen brothers don’t land in a fixed theological position, they understand that our scrapings at the divine, our many artistic renderings, reflect something true.

https://christandpopculture.com/the-coe ... il-caesar/


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Re: Hail Caesar!: Christian spoof, Christian allegory, or bo

Postby rakovsky » Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:48 pm

I am not sure why they call it "Hail Caesar" for their movie. There was actually a movie flop in 1994 called Hail Caesar. And after all, the 2016 movie is a spoof of Hollywood.

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Even before the script was finalized, the Coens were speaking of Hail, Caesar! in religious terms. “It’s about the movie business and life and religion and faith. Faith and the movie business,” Ethan Coen told an interviewer.

In another interview, they promised that the film in development would answer big questions:
“‘It’s big,’ says Ethan, grinning. ‘We’re interested in the big questions. And we don’t (expletive) around with subtext. This one especially. Though their movies usually revel in the absurdity of life’s predicaments, Ethan promises this film has answers. “It’s not like our piddly A Serious Man.” Chimes Joel, “That was a cop-out. We just totally chickened out on that one.” “We hadn’t grown up,” says Ethan. “In that respect, OK, we have matured. We’re ready to answer the big questions now.”


Early in the film, George Clooney as movie star Baird Whitlock is handed the daily script pages from the latest Capitol Pictures production, and he is told a word has been changed. Later in the film, Clooney is delivering a big speech in character and he stumbles over one word.

The word that has been switched out? “Passion.” The word he forgets? “Faith.”
http://religiondispatches.org/reality-a ... movie-yet/


The religion dispatches review then says that it's a common theme of Coen brothers films:
it became possible—even necessary—to read back to the beginning of the Coens’ filmography, and to see their films as “seriously” religious all along. Did we really miss the fact Blood Simple features Christian imagery (light, fish, stigmata) and an apocalyptic sermon on Christian radio; that the key to solving the puzzle-film Barton Fink may be the Bible; or that The Hudsucker Proxy wears its Buddhist influences on its sleeve? More importantly, could the Coens’ increasingly impressive body of work actually be saying something consistent about the sacred, about morality and mythology?


Here is the trailer for Blood Simple:


Interesting possibility that Mannix is compared to Jesus, Schenk to the father (who is never heard from directly or pictured), and Marcuse tot he Holy Spirit:
Like Denys Arcand’s 1989 film Jesus of Montreal, Hail, Caesar!’s main character has a job that involves creating a Jesus story within the film’s reality, while serving as a Jesus figure himself. This is not presented subtly: The film’s title is shown as the title of the movie within the movie, whose subtitle, borrowed from Ben-Hur, is “A Tale of the Christ.” Josh Brolin plays Hollywood fixer and practicing Catholic Eddie Mannix, based on the real Hollywood fixer of the same name, who was supposedly a devout Catholic himself (see here). As other writers have noted, in the film Mannix acts as the suffering son to the unseen strict father (New York studio executive Max Schenk, another historical figure.)

It is a typical Coen joke that the two characters laden with most religious symbolism are two out of the only three characters based on real people—perhaps that makes Herbert Marcuse the Holy Ghost?

Mind-blowing?

As Mannix takes on the sins of the world, or in this case, the studio backlot, he is tempted three times by a satanic aerospace company man, offering him worldly power (the power to destroy the world) and cigarettes, though like Christ in the desert, Mannix does not eat anything at the deep red-colored Chinese restaurant where the meetings takes place. As he goes about his day he shows compassion for fallen women (a young ingénue taking cheesecake pictures, a starlet pregnant out of wedlock) and even resurrects the (almost) dead, in the form of a film editor, inside a tomblike editing suite, whose scarf is caught in between the reels of her splicer.
The Coens love the New Testament as only secular Jews can.

What?

The review continues:
The first shot in Hail, Caesar!, of a wooden statue of Jesus above the altar of a Catholic Church recalls a similar shot near the beginning of The Man Who Wasn’t There, a movie about a man dying for the sins of others. And let us not forget that in Miller’s Crossing, Tom Reagan’s name is invoked alongside Jesus’ almost thirty times, and of course, in The Big Lebowski, the Dude “is taking ‘er easy for us sinners.”

Clearly, the Coens enjoy playing with Jesus figures. But what is the point of this extended parallel in Hail, Caesar!? My read is that by making a studio executive a Christ figure, Coen makes the point that religion and film are connected.


This looks like a really good movie:


Richard Brody, who blogs for The New Yorker, notes Hail, Caesar!’s “brilliantly ironic parallels between religious belief—specifically, Christian doctrine—and the realms of Hollywood” and how the Coens realize that the true American religion is the “worship of secular images.”

This is not a new theme for the Coens: Their 1991 feature, Barton Fink, is also set at Capitol Pictures, but in 1941—exactly ten years earlier than Hail, Caesar’s setting. If the apocalyptic Fink sees both religion and film as essentially solipsistic acts of creation that trap you in your own mind, then the redemptive Caesar posits that both religion and film are both marvelous and necessary mythologies that synthesize the seemingly contradictory spiritual and material realms.

This dialectic (to use a term repeated by the film’s communists screenwriters) is first laid out for us in the early scene in which Mannix meets with four clergymen. Many critics noted the humor in that scene, and one commenter thought it “an exploration of the self-censorship Hollywood practiced.” Few recognized it as introducing the terms of the film’s debate. This scene was clearly inspired by the consensus between a nascent Hollywood and “mainstream” religion over religious authenticity and propriety on screen, as epitomized by the biblical epic genre. But the rapid dialogue contains some deep theological discussions of the Christianity’s paradoxical understanding of Jesus as both human and divine. When Mannix points out, to placate the crabby rabbi, that this might describe all of us, the Coens have given us the key to the whole movie.
http://religiondispatches.org/reality-a ... movie-yet/

Good observation.

The review picks up on an issue of early Church writing some people on the forum might be familiar with:
A buried clue (or just coincidence) that suggests the importance of vision, of “showing” in this film may be found in the name of the Roman tribune played by George Clooney as Baird Whitlock: Autolycus.

To Autolycus is the only surviving work by the church father, Theophilus of Antioch. It is addressed to his pagan friend, Autolycus, described as having “a fluent tongue and an elegant style” (as good a description of George Clooney as any). In the opening line of the second chapter, “That the Eyes of the Soul Must Be Purged Ere God Can Be Seen,” Theophilus tells Autolycus that “if you say, Show me your God, I would reply, Show me yourself, and I will show you my God.” In Hail, Caesar! characters are repeatedly told to “watch” and once to “squint against the grandeur.” In the final shot a water tower instructs the audience to “Behold,” while the plummy British narrator tells us that Mannix’s story is “written in light.”

Movies and photography, of course, are often said to be written in light, but that last line seems to describe a religious apotheosis as well. And so the Coen Brothers, as ever, accept the mystery and leave us with a final reminder of the paradox that the sacred must be both visual and invisible, seen and unseen, just as they bring us, as we watch Mannix watching the film within the film, to wait for the “divine presence to be shot later.”
http://religiondispatches.org/reality-a ... movie-yet/


Theophilus of Antioch was a mid 2nd c. bishop of Antioch.


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Re: Hail Caesar!: Christian spoof, Christian allegory, or bo

Postby rakovsky » Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:54 pm



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Re: Hail Caesar!: Christian spoof, Christian allegory, or bo

Postby arnoldo » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:22 am

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Re: Hail Caesar!: Christian spoof, Christian allegory, or bo

Postby rakovsky » Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:18 pm

arnoldo wrote:Beware the ides of march. .
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ides_of_March


Was that a random joke or did you mean something?


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Re: Hail Caesar!: Christian spoof, Christian allegory, or bo

Postby arnoldo » Wed Mar 15, 2017 6:14 pm

This scene is pretty funny, therefore the movie appears to be a spoof.

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Re: Hail Caesar!: Christian spoof, Christian allegory, or bo

Postby rakovsky » Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:23 am

arnoldo wrote:This scene is pretty funny, therefore the movie appears to be a spoof.


I think there is a spoof aspect.
But after reading the reviews, it looks like it is much less spoofing than I originally thought.

For example, the Big Lembowski was an allegory about Jesus. Hence "The Dude Abides". There was a spoof aspect.
However, was The Dude Lembowski really ridiculed? I think not. I think the screenwriters saw him as a hero.

In the clip above that you showed, it talks about the Divine Presence and how everyone of us has God in us. My guess is that the screenwriters believe this.


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