Monday, 4 June 2007

Twelve great filmic Christ figures

by Kim Fabricius

Here is an even dozen of my favourite filmic Christ figures. By “Christ figure” I mean a protagonist who fulfils the following criteria:

  • The character comes from another world/environment.
  • The character is “other”, alien, strange.
  • The character transcends his/her/its surroundings.
  • The character is salvific, i.e. bestows blessings like inspiration, liberation, transformation, reconciliation, justice, healing to other people or a community.
  • The character arouses opposition and/or suffers.
  • And, crucially – it eliminates a host of famous potentials – the character does not maim or kill, i.e. is fundamentally non-violent (there go westerns like Shane and science fiction flicks like Terminator 2).
  • To narrow the field further, the character cannot be biblical, or even religious (so no priests or nuns), nor historical (e.g. Ghandi or Schindler), nor come from an animated film (sorry, Shrek!).
Here they are, then:

1. Luke – Cool Hand Luke (1967)
2. Randle McMurphy – One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
3. Rocky – Rocky (1976)
4. ET – ET (1982)
5. Babette – Babette’s Feast (1987)
6. Edward – Edward Scissorhands (1990)
7. The groundhog (totemically) – Groundhog Day (1993)
8. Andy Dufresne – The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
9. Forrest Gump – Forrest Gump (1994)
10. Babe – Babe: Pig in the City (1998)
11. John Coffey – The Green Mile (1999)
12. Amélie – Amélie (2001)

Okay, now point out to me my poor judgement and egregious omissions!

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