Jesus Of Montreal

Denys Arcand’s first feature after The Decline of the American Empire sounds unpromising but turns out to be both watchable and entertainingwhen it’s not taking itself too seriously. It’s a satire that centers on a Montreal actor (Lothaire Bluteau) who’s putting on an avant-garde passion play and the effect that it has on him and his small team of players (Catherine Wilkening, Johanne-Marie Tremblay, Remy Girard, and Robert Lepage)a multifaceted comic meditation on contemporary attitudes. The consideration of what sort of impact Jesus would have on the modern world has informed films as great as Dreyer’s Ordet and as pretentious as Dassin’s He Who Must Die; nowhere near as good as the former or as bad as the latter, Arcand’s 1989 film is provocative, thoughtful, and at times both sad and funny. 119 min. (JR)

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