Film with black Jesus raises few questions

review c

October 27, 2006|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

Color of the Cross makes an interesting proposal but does very little with it. Rather, the film relies on its central conceit - that Jesus was a black man, persecuted at least in part because of his race - to stir things up by itself, without presenting a narrative framework worthy of the issue.

Writer-director-star Jean-Claude La Marre tells the story of Jesus' last 48 hours with plenty of reverence - perhaps too much. True, his script contains a handful of lines that suggest race as a motivating factor in the crucifixion, such as when Mary, his mother, (Debbi Morgan) tentatively asks, "Do you think they're doing this because he is black?" But mostly, the movie is a straightforward telling of events as outlined in the Gospels. Save for Jesus' skin color, which he shares with some of his fellow Jews, little about the story is re-imagined or re-evaluated. All the inspirational elements remain intact, especially Christ's teachings about universal brotherhood. But nothing really incendiary, or even thought-provoking, is added.

Color of the Cross (Nu-Lite Entertainment) Starring Jean-Claude La Marre, Jacinto Taras Riddick, Debbi Morgan. Written and directed by Jean-Claude La Marre. Rated PG-13. Time 84 minutes.

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