“THE FIRST TEMPTATION OF CHRST”
“Forgive Me Father For I Have Sinned”
“The First Temptation of Christ”, this comedic parody of the Christian faith and Bible fables, is going to upset and annoy a lot of religious people but it is a funny and cleverly written film. Director Rodrigo Van Der Put shows the Last Supper as a distant memory and Jesus returns from the desert with his new “friend” Orlando to celebrate his 30th birthday. In this parodical take on the coming-of-age trope, Jesus wrestles with the idea that God, not Joseph, is his Father before beginning a spiritual journey to learn the true extent of his faith and powers. He goes up against an infamous foe during the film’s climactic final act that turns things into a hilarious, low-budget supernatural action flick.
The First Temptation Of Christ is wacky in its depiction and incredibly funny with some great jokes around Jesus’ sexuality and journey in the Bible. Hearing Orlando sing about God’s twisted moral compass or Joseph and God’s back-and-forth around parental rights are wonderful inclusions and perfect for the cast to work with.
The jokes are well-timed, cleverly written and the Brazilian cast clearly had a good time making the film. It’s not perfect, and at times it does fall into that realm of shock and awe for the sake of laughs rather than logic, but if you can look past this, you’ll have a good time.The satire is wild and erratic and is filled with acidic wit.
Jesus (Gregório Duvivier) attends his 30th birthday surprise party with his boyfriend Orlando (Fábio Porchat). The party is thrown by José (Rafael Portugal) and Maria (Evelyn Castro), and there are a number of high-profile biblical guests, including God (Antonio Tabet), which prompts plenty of debate about parental rights and responsibilities as Christ grapples not just with his parentage but with his own spiritual journey.
The film is full of hits and misses, but it’s mostly funny and well-written enough to not get bogged down by the moments which work either less well or not at all. There is provocative comedic material all the way through. It ignited a firestorm in Brazil, where a group of churches known as the Coalition of the Gospel has called on Netflix who is releasing the film to remove it from its library for offending Christians. Pastor Joel Theodoro of the Bairro Imperial Presbyterian Church in Rio de Janeiro likened the film to the Crucifixion itself, “slapping [Jesus], spitting on him, beating his head to bury his crown thorns, mocking him, forcing him to walk naked in the streets.”
Brazilian politicians also are on the dissenting side with Rep. Marco Feliciano calling on “joint action by the churches and good people to stop” release of the film.