The Use of Split Second Imagery to Depict Evil in: Passion Of the Christ

The director of the Passion of the Christ, uses some very interesting techniques from a directors POV to portray evil throughout the film. The way that Satan and other figures of evil are depicted in the film gives an insight on how one might think the director views evil especially in our modern world. In scenes in which evil is very much present, or more so than usual the director usually adds a supernatural spin to the scene to depict to the audience that evil and Satan are behind these deeds.

The first instance of this involves Judas and his betrayal of Jesus. At first when the guards drop Jesus off the bridge and Judas is there, he looks into Jesus’ eyes and feels horrible guilt. Just after this one starts to hear a growling and suddenly appears a hellish creature as if it was there to scare Judas and let him know he is being watched. Evil follows Judas like a curse because he has given into it.  Not only does it follow him around but it is very scary, and terrorizing to his well being.

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(Time Stamp: 15:32)

Judas also has a run in with evil once he realizes that he has ultimately betrayed his former savior. He is bleeding and sitting down, stewing in disgust with himself when some children run up to ask if he is ok. He lashes out at the children and the camera cuts in and out between the children looking normal to them looking very distorted and evil. The director uses hellish children to describe the torment Judas is going through. It makes the viewer ponder what evil is, and what scenarios it shows up in. In the film it seems that evil is present in every scenario but it is up to those people to either let the evil in and embrace it, or deny it. Evil can twist and distort even the most normal and beautiful things on earth, in this example it is children who are usually seen as innocent.

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(Time Stamp 32:09)

Lastly the movie shows Satan throughout the film as an observer of what is happening to Jesus. A particular scene that I would like to point out is when Jesus is chained to a stone pillar and is getting beaten and whipped by the guards. Everyone is watching and observing Jesus’ pain, when out of the shadows Satan drifts among the people and almost seems to take pride in what is happening.  Satan is very mysterious in this film, and kind of comes and goes as she pleases.   She watches over the shoulder of the High Priest as if she is backing his actions and standing with him in approval. It is also notices that nobody sees or acknowledges Satan in the film, but she is merely shown to remind the viewer where the root of evil stems from.

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(Time Stamp: 52:34)

The theme I think the director was trying to portray when it came to evil, is that evil will always be present in every situation, and sometimes it will be deceptively beautiful to the viewer. This is why I think the director made Satan an attractive woman because evil isn’t so obviously evil all the time, it is much harder to decipher under certain scenarios. There will always be some allure towards evil as it drifts in and out of life, but the director does a good job of showing and depicting to the viewer how evil took over Judas and how Satan lurks in wait of a weaker soul to take advantage of. Evil deeds are often disguised to the eye as good deeds,  but it is up to the person committing the deed to know the difference.

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One response to “The Use of Split Second Imagery to Depict Evil in: Passion Of the Christ

  1. Though I would not consider Satan to be an ‘attractive woman’ (as I personally found him/her to be rather androgynous), it certainly is worth noting his/her ability to drift among the people unseen and unacknowledged. The director seems to be implying that evil walks among us all the time, and it is often difficult to pinpoint. Satan’s positioning behind the High Priest is a particularly effective method to convey this idea. To me, Satan does not seem to be a source of evil necessarily, but rather a physical manifestation of the evil and sin that exist in mankind inherently. Satan never directly interacts with man. Instead, the devil is more of an observer, nodding approval at barbaric and inhumane acts. Judas, for example, is not haunted by the devil but instead by his own actions; his choices lead him to see evil in everything. Satan has not taken over his soul because Judas corrupts it himself.

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