Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Grand Inquisitor

Weekly Web Mini-Series Premieres November 11th
Original Score by DJ Spooky Screenplay by Ruth Margraff Multi Image Design by Julie Talen Directed by Tony Torn
Produced by Lee Ann Brown and George Norfleet Executive Producer Michael McCartney

"...a five part film updating Dostoevsky's mystical fable to a future, Fox network style reality. The second coming has arrived in the form of a radical African-American messiah, and the Network/Church/Government is seen in the teaser looking through auditions for a more acceptable replacement Jesus that they can rush into the marketplace to offset the disruptive influence of the 'false prophet'. In the original story, from Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, Christ returns at the height of the Inquisition, to great celebration, but when The Grand Inquisitor orders the people to throw Christ into jail, such is the authority of the Inquisitor that the people instantly turn on Jesus. The Inquisitor visits Jesus in the cell and in a nutshell, he tells him he recognizes him as the true Christ, but will nonetheless burn him as a heretic, to protect a Church which has vastly improved his original, flawed message. In response, Jesus kisses the Grand Inquisitor on the lips, and the GI lets him go. ‘The kiss burned in his heart’ writes Dostoevsky, ‘but he held onto his opinion’.

The film begins in and sustains an aggressively satirical mode, but dovetails with the original story until the final episode which follows the source very closely. As director, it's my attempt to claim a personal perspective on Christianity after being confronted by the powerfully presented, yet soul killing version presented by The Passion of The Christ. The danger of our approach is scaring folks away with the viciousness of the initial satire, before they are able to access the deeper allegory we are trying to present. But the piece is finished now after three years of development and fifteen months of editing (it has a very complex visual style), so it is what it is.”