Love and Forgiveness in The Passion

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Watching The Passion last night, I was struck by how strong the theme of love and forgiveness comes through in contrast to the critics’ contention that the movie is just unrelenting sadistic violence. (I also noticed how much the camera turns away from the violence rather than dwelling on it… We see enough to give us the idea and then he lets our imagination do the rest. Which is always more effective.) The words “love” and “forgive” occur repeatedly, over a dozen times I believe. This may not sound like much, but since the dialogue is sparse these words stand out. Here are some examples that I recall.[I do not have a script and did not take notes. I am relying on this cite of passages on which the film is based sifted & supplemented by my fresh memory of what dialogue was actually in the film.]

“Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

“Love your enemies. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?”

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” [variations on this are repeated several times in the film, sometimes just as “forgive them”]

“He’s asking for your forgiveness!” [the thief on the cross]

10:02 am on March 12, 2004