Thursday, March 11, 2004

On Mel Gibson's Passion

Here's something I hadn't seen mentioned in all of the coverage of that Mel Gibson movie.
Most notably, the Romanian Jewish actress Maia Morgenstern plays Mary, and the Rome-based Sephardi singer Evelina Meghnagi served as dialogue coach for the Aramaic used in the film. Meghnagi, who was born in Libya, recently described to the Rome Jewish monthly Shalom her growing uneasiness with the production. She said she felt so strongly about it that she refused to allow the use of some of her music in the soundtrack.
As I instructed the actors how to speak in Aramaic,' she said, 'I began to understand that not only would this be a blood-soaked and violent film, but also that I found myself facing a story in which Mel Gibson restored the responsibility for the crucifixion of Christ to us Jews.