“Persianality: Persians in Palm Springs”— A Revry Original Series


Persianality: Persians in Palm Springs

A Revry Original Series

Available now to stream on www.revry.tv

Revry is proud to present its newest Original Series, “Persianality: Persians in Palm Springs”. The digital series was created by and stars the first ever Iranian-Jewish Drag queen, HRH The Empress. It was directed by Cory Schneider and takes place over the course of one day.

In “Persianality”, when Fereshteh Shoorkhaianian (the Empress) is taken on a surprise weekend getaway to Palm Springs by her husband Bijan (Teddy Margas), the couple’s marriage is put to the test. When this lavish couple, who doesn’t know how to function without the assistance of hired help, is left to their own devices, absolute hilarity ensues.

Growing up in the Iranian-Jewish community, the Empress faced a lot of rejection and isolation as a queer kid. Still, she was inspired and amused by the strong and glamorous Persian women she grew up around and continues to have in her life. This was ultimately the catalyst for the Empress to create this boundary-pushing, largely improvised comedy that both pays homage to and parodies elements from her own life.

When asked about shooting the series, the Empress said, “It was all very experimental. We wanted to see what would happen without overthinking it. We had a basic outline and story arc and enjoyed the freedom of that.” The Empress ultimately hopes that the sense of fun and playfulness comes through and makes audiences watching it laugh as much as she and the rest of the cast and crew laughed creating it.

For the Empress, her drag is a manifestation of all the adversities she has been through in life. She has found a way to take her experiences and turn them into art, whether it be comedy, acting, or fashion. Her journey is one of survival, and ultimately being able to flourish as her authentic self in a community that still grapples with acceptance of LGBTQ+ people.

“MANKIND”— Gay Life on Mars?

“Mankind”

Gay Life on Mars?

Amos Lassen

We do not get many LGBT science-fiction films and I can only wonder if that is because we have not dealt with all our earthly problems. There is one that just came out and is “seriously atmospheric…wildly thought-provoking…”

Director Layke Anderson in just 13 minutes brings us Will (Ricky Nixon), a restless young man who wants to join the first colony on Mars. He decides to leave his partner, Evan (Alexis Gregory) and this comprises most of the short film. We have a personal drama about a man who loves his partner but is dissatisfied with his life and with the plant.

He and his partner try to reconcile how he feels. The actors give strong performances and we feel the tension and the chemistry that they share. Through flashbacks we see how their argument came to be as well as the “balance of humanity within the vastness of the universe. The short certainly has the potential to be a very special feature.

Evan believes that Will is far from convinced, even more so when he reads up on the Space program that Will has applied for.  Will however is determined  as it is not just his life that he is unhappy with, but also his planet. We see one of the saddest and also unusual break up stories ever.

“THE BLONDE ONE”— A Sensual Romance

“The Blonde One”

A Sensual Romance

Amos Lassen

Film auteur Marco Berger has become one of the darlings of gay cinema and we await his work. Berger’s new film, “The Blonde One” is set in the suburbs of Buenos Aires where Gabriel (Gaston Re) has just moved in with his colleague, Juan (Alfonso Baron). Gabo is quite shy and reluctant to follow Juan’s wandering hands and meaningful looks. With a revolving door of beauties streaming out of Juan’s bedroom. Yet we cannot help but sense the attraction between Gavo and Juan. What starts out as a sexual relationship based on convenience of location quickly develops into a tender and intimate relationship which is as sweet as it is heartbreaking. 

It all began because Juan’s brother, who had been his roommate moved out and Juan needed to find someone new and that turned out to be Gabriel (the blonde one), a colleague at the Woodworking shop where they are both employed.The two men couldn’t be more different. Juan is a party animal always filling the apartment with his drinking buddies and  a whole stream of girls who end up in his bed.  Gabo is quiet and subdued and seemingly friendless and the only highlight is life is going to his family home where his parents are raising his young daughter.

Gabo is fascinated by Juan’s life and is even more intrigued by his meaningful glances and his wandering hands.  It takes a while time before the two men actually act on their mutual attraction and what started out as a sexual relationship eventually develops more deeply than either man had imagined when they completely fall for each other. They conduct their relationship with the outmost secrecy with Juan carrying on as before with both the drinking and the womanizing but now an uncomfortable Gabo is watching him.

Argentinian Gay auteur Marco Berger has had some very successful moves to his name but this film shows his remarkable talent for  sheer homoeroticism but the skillful way he allows this sensual and touching relationship to gently unfold. The two lead actors are compelling and give very touching performances. We become totally immersed in their relationship even though there is always the uncertainty it will survive when its discovered by the outside.

Director Berger presents the story of a love affair in a series of uninflected, mostly static shots, letting the camera linger on characters’ faces as they register attraction, desire, frustration, jealousy and love. Largely wordless, actor Re brings inner life to the shy, yearning Gabriel and does so with beauty and grace. In fact this entire film is one of beauty and grace.

“YEARS AND YEARS”— A Six-Part BBC One Series

“Years and Years”

A Six-Part BBC One Series

Amos Lassen

BBC One has released the trailer for “Years and Years”, Russell T. Davies’  new six-part drama Years and Years, which stars Russell Tovey  and Emma Thompson and follows one family from 2019 forward over a period of 15 years.

“What sort of world are we in,” asks Tovey’s character as Daniel Lyons, a married gay male, at the start of the trailer as he cradles a newborn infant, “because if it’s this bad now, what’s it going to be like for you in 30 years’ time?”

Emma Thompson is Vivienne Rook, an outspoken celebrity turned political figure whose controversial opinions divide the nation. The focus of the six-part series is the Manchester-based Lyons family: Daniel is getting married to Ralph, Stephen and Celeste worry about their kids, Rosie is chasing a new guy, and Edith has not been home for years. Presiding over them all is Gran, the imperial Muriel. All their lives converge on one crucial night in 2019, and the story accelerates into the future, following the lives and loves of the Lyons over the next 15 years. The show also stars Rory Kinnear, Jessica Hynes, T’Nia Miller, Ruth Madeley, and Anne Reid.

  It definitely sounds intriguing as each episode jumping ahead by a year or two. Although the drama will explore a country going through political and economic instability, it will be full of warmth and humor and a positive outlook. It will also deal with the rise of populist politicians in Britain, trans-humanism, war and other cultural issues facing the United Kingdom.

It begins with Britain withdrawing from Europe, America becomes a lone wolf, China asserts itself and a new world begins to form.’  Society is hotter, faster, madder, with the turmoil of politics, technology and distant wars affecting the Lyons in their day-to-day lives.

Russell Davies  who recently wrote and produced the award-winning “A Very English Scandal”  about a homosexual affair that brought down a major political leader, also has another TV series in the works for UK’s Channel 4— “The Boys”, about the impact of the 1980s AIDS crisis and Davies has been working on it for a number of years and claims it is his most heavily-researched work.  The five-part drama will follow the story of the 1980s, the story of AIDS, and the story of three boys, Ritchie, Roscoe and Colin, across the decade.

THREE JOSEPH W. SARNO CLASSICS AT FILM MOVEMENT PLUS

THREE JOSEPH W. SARNO CLASSICS AT FILM MOVEMENT PLUS

 THIS FRIDAY, April 26, FILM MOVEMENT PLUS OPENS THE VAULTS OF JOSEPH W. SARNO, ONE OF THE LEGENDARY PIONEERS OF CELLULOID EROTICA, FOR STREAMING PREMIERES OF THREE CLASSICS:

“SIN IN THE SUBURBS”, “VIBRATIONS” and  “PANDORA AND THE MAGIC BOX”

Commemorating the Passing of the Iconic Filmmaker, the Retrospective Also Features Other Sarno Classics as SIN YOU SINNERS, ALL THE SINS OF SODOM, VAMPIRE ECSTASY, and CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE (1975), as Well as the Documentary A LIFE IN DIRTY MOVIES

A pioneer of sexploitation cinema, American film director and screenwriter Joseph W. Sarno’s (1921-2010) prolific career spans the evolution of the genre. “One of the true pioneers of celluloid erotica,” he was also dubbed the “Chekov of soft-core” by The Village Voice and the “Ingmar Bergman of 42nd Street”. And though he passed on April 26, 2010, thanks to Film Movement’s partnership with Film Media, a preservation and restoration company dedicated to outstanding independent cinema shot on film, new 2K theatrical masters have been created for the Joseph W. Sarno film library. For years, only poorly-preserved prints were available for retrospective screenings; now, cinema aficionados can screen Sarno’s classics, restored to a pristine state for optimal viewing.

To commemorate the legendary auteur who elevated erotica to an artform, Film Movement Plus opens the vaults for streaming premieres of three classics making their digital debuts: SIN IN THE SUBURBS, VIBRATIONS and PANDORA AND THE MAGIC BOX:

Sarno first explored the dark side of the American dream in his 1964 drama SIN IN THE SUBURBS, hailed by DVD Drive-In as “a ground-breaking masterpiece.”   Audrey Campbell starred as Geraldine Lewis, a lonely housewife and mother who distracts herself with racy friends and a secret affair. Discovered in the arms of another man, Geraldine immerses herself in a secret sex club, only to make a shocking discovery!

In VIBRATIONS (1968), aspiring writer Barbara moves to Manhattan to jump-start her career and sex life, but ends up typing manuscripts. Alone at night, she listens to the sound of her sexy neighbor as she entertains herself and her friends with the aid of her vibrator. When her extroverted sister, Julie, comes to town, Barbara is forced to confront her repressed sexual desires. Another of Sarno’s early classics, DVD Drive-In calls VIBRATIONS “classy and sophisticated, beautifully shot…filled with wonderful performances and as sexy as hell.” 

And, Sarno trades the steamy suburbs for ancient lands in PANDORA AND THE MAGIC BOX (1965). When King Minos discovers Theseus is on a mission to locate the rightful ruler of Greece, he sends his buxom servant Pandora to disrupt the search. Meanwhile, Zeus selects Theseus to protect a wooden box “full of trouble.” Add a handful of Amazons and one king in drag, and you have the screwball comedy that introduced sexploitation auteur Joe Sarno’s unique take on Yiddish Theater to the raincoat crowd.

For those looking to continue the Sarno Memorial Retrospective, look no further — along with the documentary, A LIFE IN DIRTY MOVIES, a love story about Sarno and his loyal wife and collaborator Peggy that followed the 88-year old Joe struggling to get a new film project off the ground, sexploitation aficionados can stream SIN YOU SINNERS (1963), ALL THE SINS OF SODOM (1968), VAMPIRE ECSTASY (1973), and CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE (1975).

About FILM MOVEMENT PLUS

 FILM MOVEMENT PLUS opens up a world of provocative, compelling and award-winning films from Film Movement’s singular library. Priced at $5.99 per month with a free 14-day trial, the SVOD subscription service, currently available on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Android TV, mobile (iOS and Android), and Chromecast, offers consumers immediate access to 250 festival favorite feature films and 100 short films, including: THEEB, the 2016 Academy Award® nominee for Best Foreign Film; AFTER THE STORM, a powerful family drama from 2018 Palme d’Or winner Hirokazu Kore-eda; HUMAN CAPITAL, a political thriller from Paolo Virzi (The Leisure Seeker) that was Italy’s Best Foreign Film submission for the 87th Academy Awards® and MY LOVE, DON’T CROSS THAT RIVER, an unforgettable documentary about true love that transcends generations and cultures and is South Korea’s most successful film of all time. Classics from the Film Movement catalog include Bille August’s PELLE THE CONQUEROR, an Academy Award® winner for Best Foreign Language Film in 1996 and much more.

About Film Movement

 Founded in 2002 as one of the first-ever subscription film services with its DVD-of-the-Month club, Film Movement is now a North American distributor of award-winning independent and foreign films based in New York City. It has released more than 250 feature films and shorts culled from prestigious film festivals worldwide.  Film Movement’s theatrical releases include American independent films, documentaries, and foreign art house titles. Its catalog includes titles by directors such as Hirokazu Kore-eda, Maren Ade, Jessica Hausner, Andrei Konchalovsky, Andrzej Wajda, Diane Kurys, Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent. In 2015, Film Movement launched its reissue label Film Movement Classics, featuring new restorations released

 

theatrically as well as on Blu-ray and DVD, including films by such noted directors as Eric Rohmer, Peter Greenaway, Bille August, Marleen Gorris, Takeshi Kitano, Arturo Ripstein, Sergio Corbucci and Ettore Scola. For more information, please visit www.filmmovement.com.

 

 

“The City-State of Boston: The Rise and Fall of  an Atlantic Power, 1630-1865” by Mark Peterson— A History of Early America

Peterson, Mark. “The City-State of Boston: The Rise and Fall of  an Atlantic Power, 1630-1865”, Princeton University Press,  2019.

A History of Early America

Amos Lassen

Mark Peterson’s groundbreaking history of early America shows how Boston built, maintained and sustained an independent city-state in New England before being folded into the United States.

Historically Boston has long been held up as an exemplary “city upon a hill” and the “cradle of liberty” for an independent United States. Setting aside the city from the clichés that describe it, Peterson shows us Boston’s overlooked past as an autonomous city-state, and in doing so, he presents “a pathbreaking and brilliant new history of early America.” In following Boston’s development over three centuries, we learn how this self-governing Atlantic trading center that began as a refuge from Britain’s Stuart monarchs and how through its bargain with slavery and ratification of the Constitution, the city would tragically lose integrity and autonomy as it became incorporated into the larger and greater United States.

Peterson’s research entails vast archives, and features unfamiliar figures alongside well-known ones, such as John Winthrop, Cotton Mather, and John Adams. He explores Boston’s origins in sixteenth-century utopian ideals, its founding and expansion into the hinterland of New England, and the growth of its distinctive political economy, with ties to the West Indies and southern Europe. By the 1700s, Boston was at full strength, with wide Atlantic trading circuits and cultural ties, both within and beyond Britain’s empire. After the Revolutionary War, “citizens of Boston aimed to negotiate a relationship with the American confederation, but through the next century, the new United States took down Boston’s regional reign. The fateful decision to ratify the Constitution undercut its power, as Southern planters and slave owners dominated national politics and the city-state’s vision of a common good for all ceased to exist.

Peterson cut through the layers of myth surrounding Boston and gives us a fresh understanding of America’s history.  He leads us through many of Boston’s ideals and shows how they clashed with the city’s links to the American South’s slave-driven economy. There were, of course, slaveholders in Boston as well and we certainly see that today as many of the monuments here were named after former slaveholding Bostonians whose names are about to be purged and replaced— notably Devotion School’s name is to be changed as it the name of landmark Faneuil Hall.

We see Boston here as an independent city-state that was absorbed into the new country that arose around it. It was at once privileged and peculiar suggesting the value of considering its distinctive past anew as Peterson has done so well. He tells the story in rich and extraordinary ways and it will be impossible to see Boston any other way after reading this. It will not be a comfortable read for everyone especially those who revere the story of Puritans, revolutionaries, and abolitionists as it has been told till now. Above all else, we see that history does change.

“WOODY GUTHERIE: ALL STAR TRIBUTE CONCERT 1970”— A Historic Concert

 “Woody Guthrie: All-Star Tribute Concert 1970”

A Historic Concert

Amos Lassen

I love folk music and even though we do not hear it much anymore, I still try to find it when I can. You can imagine how glad I was to find this wonderful DVD of the Tribute Concert to Woody Guthrie with many of my favorite folkies. It had never been released before and features Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Odetta, Country Joe McDonald, Richie Havens, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and others.

The Woody Guthrie All-Star Tribute Concert took place at the Hollywood Bowl and it is a celebration of the work of Woody Guthrie, America’s legendary folk singer and songwriter. The concert also features narration by actors Peter Fonda and Will Geer and was produced by 4-Time Emmy Award Winner Jim Brown. This star-studded event was a fundraiser for the California Chapter of The Committee to Combat Huntington’s Disease (now known as the Hereditary Disease Foundation), as Woody died of Huntington’s disease in 1967.

Extras include 3 never-before-seen songs performed by Joan Baez, Odetta and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, as well as concert rehearsal footage and audio interviews with Arlo Guthrie and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott.

1. Arlo Guthrie; Joan Baez; Odetta; Pete Seeger; Country Joe Mcdonald; Richie Havens; Ramblin’ Jack Elliott; Earl Robinson; And Band – This Train Is Bound For Glory
2. Arlo Guthrie – Oklahoma Hills
3. Country Joe Mcdonald – Pretty Boy Floyd
4. Joan Baez; Pete Seeger – So Long, It’s Been Good To Know Yuh
5. Country Joe Mcdonald, Arlo Guthrie, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Pete Seeger – Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad
6. Pete Seeger; Arlo Guthrie – I Ain’t Got No Home
7. Arlo Guthrie – Do Re Mi
8. Joan Baez – Plane Wreck At Los Gatos (Deportee)
9. Odetta – Ramblin’ Round
10. Pete Seeger; Earl Robinson – Roll On Columbia
11. Richie Havens – Nine Hundred Miles
12. Country Joe Mcdonald – Woman At Home
13. Pete Seeger – The Sinking Of The Reuben James
14. Arlo Guthrie; Joan Baez; Odetta; Pete Seeger; Country Joe Mcdonald; Richie Havens; Ramblin’ Jack Elliott; Earl Robinson; And Band – I’ve Got To Know
15. Arlo Guthrie; Joan Baez; Odetta; Pete Seeger; Country Joe Mcdonald; Richie Havens; Ramblin’ Jack Elliott; Earl Robinson; And Band – This Land Is Your Land
16. Arlo Guthrie; Joan Baez; Odetta; Pete Seeger; Country Joe Mcdonald; Richie Havens; Ramblin’ Jack Elliott; Earl Robinson; And Band – This Train Is Bound For Glory
17. Ramblin’ Jack Elliott – 1913 Massacre
18. Odetta – John Hardy
19. Joan Baez – Pastures Of Plenty

It’s been almost 50 years since this concert but it is just as fresh as if it was yesterdays. Sure the performers look different but I’ve been a folkie for a long time and will remain that way. We don’t get to see the whole concert –or hear the full readings of “Woody’s words” as read by actors Fonda and Geer, – but the 51-minute running time (plus those bonuses by Odetta, Baez and Elliott) is filled with great songs. Often when one performer is doing a song, another will unexpectedly join in.

Pete Seeger would be 100 years-old this year and to see him back then just opened memories for me. The video is crisp and the sound is excellent. The DVD is also “region free” so it can be played everywhere in the world. There is also a “social purpose” to this release. Sales will benefit the Hereditary Disease Foundation, whose mission is: “to fund innovative research towards curing Huntingdon’s disease and impacting other brain disorders”. (It is also great fun seeing Joan Baez looking like a high schooler).

“BANJOS, BLURGRASS & SQUIRREL BEHAVIOR”— Bluegrass in San Diego

“Banjos, Bluegrass & Squirrel Barkers”

Bluegrass in San Diego

Amos Lassen

Filmmaker Rick Bowman has a special passion for bluegrass music. Even though he now lives on the west coast, he has family roots in Appalachia, and a long familiarity with the music and the people of the region.

Bowman’s newest film, ”Banjos, Bluegrass & Squirrel Barkers”, looks specifically at the San Diego bluegrass scene, from its inception in the 1960s to the present day. We see a number of prominent artists who got their start there, including Chris Hillman, Alison Brown, Ron Block, and Stuart Duncan, plus the granddaddies of the San Diego set, The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers. That was the group that helped propel the careers of Hillman, along with Bernie Leadon of The Eagles and Kenny Wirtz of Country Gazette.

Even though the film is just completed, it has already won three awards. Bluegrass music has originally thought to come from the mountains of Appalachia but we get quite a surprise here to see that San Diego is the home of the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers. I am not saying anymore about the film so you will have to go and see it yourself but be ready to feel the music.

“NINA”— “A Celebration of Lesbian Sexuality”

“NINA”

“A Celebration of Lesbian Sexuality”

Amos Lassen

Nina (Julia Kijowska) is struggling in her marriage and wants a change. She really wants to is have a child but is unable to conceive. Multiple failed attempts have caused her to be disillusioned, depressed and at a breaking point. An accidental encounter with Magda (Eliza Rycembel) gives her a sense of hope. Young and independent, Magda is young and independent and  catches the eye of Nina’s husband, Wojtek (Andrzej Konopka),  who sees her as a possible solution to their pregnancy problem. Magda does not react and he tries to get to be a surrogate mother. Nina also finds Magda interesting but more out of curiosity than surrogacy. Magda actually brings forward Nina’s repressed desire and as she does, Nina finds herself losing control of her life. Of course, it all comes to a head and each of the three characters must make a decision as to who they will be in the future and what they will leave behind — and at what cost?

“Nina” is the  feature film debut of Polish director Olga Chajdas and it has been winning awards on the festival circuit. Nina and Wojtek’s 20+ year marriage is on the rocks, even though they both seemingly still love each other. They’re stagnating and have hit a dead end because they’ve been unable to conceive. There are also other reasons why their marriage is falling apart. One is these is probably because they come from different backgrounds. Nina’s a high-school French teacher and Wojtek is a mechanic. Nina’s mother (Katarzyna Gniewkowska) is a huge influence – not only is she the headmistress of the school where her daughter teaches, she’s also funded Nina’s IVF treatment that failed and she‘s going to stop the cash flow so now they are desperately seeking a surrogate.

Magda is an airport security worker Magda and has a female flight attendant lover. While her lover is away away, Magda can play, but when she’s back in Warsaw, Magda is grounded. After Nina and her husband’s efforts to find a suitable woman to carry their child, Nina fortuitously backs into Magda’s car. Nina and Wojtek decide that Magda is their last hope of surrogacy and concoct a plan to get her to agree. They don’t know Magda is a lesbian and the big surprise is that so is Nina and Magda has managed to bring her latent sexuality to action.

The cast is excellent throughout but there are several plot problems. Maybe Nina really doesn’t want a child, and she’s felt pressured by her husband, family and Poland’s strict Catholic society. As far as the erotic aspects of the film and some of the scenes are quite sexually charged, Nina and Magda don’t seem like a believable couple. They have nothing in common— Nina is older and a teacher and quite staid while Magda is a free spirit. I doubt they could ever manage a long-term relationship. The two women become lovers so quickly that we learn very little about them.

Writer/director Chajdas’ has said that this film isn’t meant to portray the situation of Polish lesbian life: it’s primarily about love. In Poland civil partnerships are not formally recognized and there is no same-sex marriage. “Nina” is a fine addition to the canon of LGBTQ cinema since it really is about  woman facing a new reality and life and coming out.  

BONUS FEATURE

 Bonus Short Film – Social Butterfly (Directed by Lauren Wolkstein | France, USA | 14 minutes | English & French with English Subtitles) — A 30-year-old American woman (Anna Margaret Hollyman) sneaks into a teenage party in the South of France leading to a surprising encounter.

“MOSES, THE LAWGIVER”— Burt Lancaster Does Moses

“Moses, The Lawgiver”

Burt Lancaster Does Moses

Amos Lassen

The timing for the release of “Moses the Lawgiver” could not have been better. This week Jews around the world are celebrating Passover, the holiday that commemorates the Exodus that was led by Moses. While this is not a perfect film about Moses, it is interesting  to see a different take on the man that Charlton Heston played in DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments”.

Either the Hebrew Bible tells us or we assume that Moses was a man of wisdom and strength who raised his staff and crushed an empire. This is his story which is the story of the flight of the Hebrews from Egypt to escape persecution and it is told from the  perspective that highlights Moses’ efforts to persuade the stubborn Pharaoh Merneptah, his adopted cousin, to release to release the Hebrew slaves he was using to build his empire. For a spectacular story, we need a spectacular cast and here it is— g Burt Lancaster as Moses, Anthony Quayle as Aaron, Ingrid Thulin as Miriam , Irene Papas as Zipporah and narrated by Richard Johnson. This is the story of Moses, the Hebrew lawgiver, an extraordinary man who receives a holy calling, and we follow his life from birth, abandonment, slavery and trials in leading the Jews through the Holy Land after taking them out of Egypt.

We see the baby Moses put into the river and his adoption by a Hebrew princess. When Moses’ Hebrew origin is revealed, he’s cast out of Egypt and wanders across the desert. Returning to Egypt, Moses along with his brother Aaron, confront Pharaoh Mernefta, asking him to liberate the Jews but he refuses, causing God to inflict the 7 (sic) plagues on the Egyptians. Finally, Moses climbs Mount Sinai bringing down the holy tablets.

The film was shot on location in Israel and Morocco and the wonderful costumes and props are a visual feast. I am just sorry that the writers chose the reinterpret the story and filling it with unbelievable mistakes. The other problem that I had is despite a great performance by Burt Lancaster, this umpteenth telling of Moses’ story suffers from a lack of direction on the film makers’ part. The plagues and curses which could have been spectacular are done in a mediocre way by special effects guy Mario Bava but the film does wonderfully capture Moses leading his people out of Egypt and into the desert, where they complaining constantly. However, Moses’ faith is never shaken.

The film suffers from trying not to be better than other films on the subject and that is hard to do. There are scenes here that run twice as long as they should. The film is a six hours long, and in need of editing.  There are some very effective scenes, mostly dealing with the pharaoh’s wrath, but there is not enough emotion here to make them compelling viewing. I had a problem with the scene showing young boys and infants being thrown into the Nile and when Moses killed his camel and cooked its flesh. It was alarming to see him eating it.

Director Gianfranco De Bosio keeps God off screen. His words are mediated only through Moses. Even the viewer only hears him speak in Lancaster’s voice. His (miraculous) actions are shown through subjective point of view shots, or meet, shortly afterwards, with a rational explanation.  The closing scenes portray Moses dying twice. Initially Moses seems to have died in his tent in the same ordinary way that his siblings died before him. But then, Moses ascends the mountain overlooking the Promised Land and then lays down to die in the manner described at the end of Deuteronomy.