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Online publication date:
June 2023
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Pontius Pilate On Screen deals with one of history's most controversial characters. From Monty Python's 'Life of Brian' to Mel Gibson's 'Passion of the Christ', Pontius Pilate is a figure of evidently endless fascination to filmmakers. The Roman prefect is depicted at times as the hapless victim of machinations beyond his control and at other times as the heartless villain of the piece. If in films about the Passion Jesus represents eternal truth, Pilate symbolises the values of the present - whether it is the lingering trauma of the Holocaust, the ongoing struggle over Civil Rights or the polarised politics of the current day - as filmmakers endeavour again and again to portray in Pontius Pilate a compelling counter-figure to Jesus himself.

This book considers portrayals of Pontius Pilate in film from the silent era to the twenty-first century. It discusses over 25 films in detail, including Cecil B. DeMille's 'King of Kings' (1927), Norman Jewison's 'Jesus Christ Superstar' (1973), Martin Scorsese's 'Last Temptation of Christ' (1988), Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of the Christ' (2004) and Sony's 'Risen' (2016). Based on extensive archival research and original interviews with actors, screenwriters and producers, it offers an extended discussion of the history, tradition and reception of Pontius Pilate.

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