Mary (2005 film)
|Directed by||Abel Ferrara|
|Produced by||Roberto De Nigris
|Written by||Abel Ferrara
|Music by||Francis Kuipers|
|Edited by||Patrizio Marone
|Distributed by||Pan Europeene (France)
IFC Films (USA)
The film premiered at the 2005 Venice Film Festival where it won the Special Jury Prize as well as 3 smaller awards. The film also played at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, Deauville Film Festival and San Sebastián International Film Festival.
Following the shooting of a film on the life of Jesus called This Is My Blood, Marie Palesi (Juliette Binoche), the actress who plays Mary Magdalene takes refuge in Jerusalem in search of the truth behind the story.
The director of the film, Tony Childress (Matthew Modine), who also plays Jesus, can think of only one thing: self-promotion.
In New York, television journalist Ted Younger (Forest Whitaker) presents a programme about the life of Jesus.
- Juliette Binoche – Marie Palesi/Mary Magdalene
- Forest Whitaker – Ted Younger
- Matthew Modine – Tony Childress/Jesus
- Heather Graham – Elizabeth Younger
- Marion Cotillard – Gretchen Mol
- Stefania Rocca – Brenda Sax
- Francine Berting – Nurse #2
- Giovanni Capalbo – Police man
- Massimo Cortesi – Priest
- Ettore D'Alessandro – Apostle Andrew
- Alex Grazioli – Apostle Matthew
- Emanuela Iovannitti – Johanna, Mary's follower
- Marco Leonardi – Apostle Peter
- Amos Luzzatto – himself
- Thure Riefenstein – Silvanus
- Gisella Marengo – Nurse Nicu
- Mario Opinato – Apostle James
- Gabriella Wright – TV technician
- Elaine Pagels
- Jean Yves Leloup
Themes and imagery
One of the central concerns of Mary is the examination of the feminine within the Catholic tradition. Like The Da Vinci Code the film puts forward the theory that Mary Magdalene is much more significant than the Catholic Gospels would suggest. However while The Da Vinci Code suggests that Mary Magdalene was the lover or wife of Jesus, Ferrara's film presents the theory that she was in fact one of the disciples and a trusted confidante of Christ.
Mary presents three narrative threads which represent the three elements of the Trinity.
Ted Younger, whose wife has just given birth, represents God the Father.
Tony Childress (literally Childress) represents God the Son.
Screens play an important part in Mary. Each of the three main protagonists are involved in the moving image. Marie Palesi is an actress. Tony Childress is a director and actor, while Ted Younger presents a religious TV programme. Ferrera presents constant images of cinema and TV screens. Younger watches constant images of violence from the middle east. He is presented as being somewhat separated from reality, engaging through screens of different sorts. New York City is seen only through his car window, he gazes at his baby son through the glass of an incubator and looks at his wife's reflection in a mirror.
Upon its release Mary immediately divided critics and viewers alike.
- "A sincere grapple with faith and redemption in cynical times." – Leslie Felperrin, Variety
- "Somehow turns confusion into a concise study on what it means to believe in God in this day and age." – Chris Cabin, Filmcritic.com
- "..both Forest Whitaker and Juliette Binoche (as with the rest of the cast) give such amazing performances that they should be added to the list of the best work of their careers." – Michael Ferraro, Film Threat
- "Ferrara presents his ideas in what's meant to be a meditation on the nature of faith but ends up an incoherent, pretentious mess." – Josh Bell, Las Vegas Weekly
- "Some critics went as far as rebaptising (excuse the pun) the director "Unable Ferrara" after the press screening here in Venice." – Boyd van Hoeij, Europeanfilms.net
- "Murky and forgettable." – Ray Bennett, Hollywood Reporter
The original soundtrack was written by Francis Kuipers.
- "Mary (prologue)" – 1.53
- "They Took my Lord" – 6.15
- "Disciples & Discord" – 4.04
- "Street Attack" – 1.06
- "Mary in the Desert" – 3.54
- "Gnostic Gospel" – 3.29
- "Women at Sea" – 1.56
- "Sacred Heart" – 3.18
- "Among Believers" – 2.50
- "Holy Land Explosion" – 1.25
- "Madness of God" – 3.36
- "This is my Blood" – 5.43
- "Hidden Scripture" – 2.53
- "Mary (Epilogue)" – 3.35
- Francis Kuipers – Guitar
- Miriam Butler – Bassoon
- David Barittoni – Voices
- Giulio Luciani – Viola, violin
- Roberto Bellatalla – Double Bass
- Paola Di Silvestro – Soprano
- Fabio Colucci – Music producer and mixer
- Venice Film Festival 2005
- Grand Jury Prize
- Mimmo Rotella Foundation Award
- SIGNIS Award
- Sergio Trasatti Award
French film poster
The French poster for Mary features a woman praying at an altar. The image was taken in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. The film was the first film to be allowed film in the actual church.