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The Big Question: the documentary filmed on the set of The Passion of the Christ arrives at the cinema

After years of waiting, Italian cinemas will now also host The Big Question, the documentary filmed on the set of The Passion of the Christ

It was 2004 and a film, completely performed in Aramaic and Latin, was about to enter the history of cinema: Christ’s passion (whose sequel has been in the pipeline for years now). The movie of Mel Gipson, filmed in Matera was able to collect 370 million dollars, achieving incredible success. However, few know that at the same time as the film, a parallel film was also being shot on the set: The Big Question. It is a documentaryfilmed between takes, from Francesco Cabras (who plays the role of a thief in Gipson’s film) e Alberto Molinari. The film had a good response in the American territory, while in Italy it was never distributed, until today. Mel Gibson himself had shown himself enthusiastic about the idea of ​​this project, so much so that he became its co-producer (only later did he abandon the project due to theological differences). Cabras and Molinari explained their documentary in an interview. Here are all the details.

The Big Question: the documentary filmed on the set of The Passion of the Christ arrives at the cinema

A film within a film | The Big Question: the documentary filmed on the set of The Passion of the Christ arrives at the cinema

Upon the release of the film The Passion of the Christ, theemotional impact was considerable. The raw and realistic scenes deeply affected audiences and critics, almost managing to convey to the viewer some of the pain that was narrated in the scenes. There is though a story within the storywhich few people know about. In fact, it would seem that this atmosphere imbued with emotion was already breathed on the set. Perhaps this is where the idea of ​​the two directors Francesco Cabras and Alberto Molinari came from shoot The Big Question, in between filming breaks. Their idea was simple: ask whoever wanted to answer, crew member or actor, “God exists?“. From the answers that the two obtained, we gradually realized the potential they had in their hands; therefore they decided to make a work almost in its own right, able to offer an interesting starting point for reflection. With this simple question, Cabras and Molinari arrived at about 200 hours of footage that took about a year to edit.

A non-trivial question | The Big Question: the documentary filmed on the set of The Passion of the Christ arrives at the cinema

Cabras and Molinari explained in an interview how The Big Question was born. Gibson’s choice to put together a multi-ethnic cast for his blockbuster was a godsend for the two directors. Molinari explained why:

We traveled a lot around the world and we often thought that we should take advantage of this situation to ask a few questions, always the same, to a diverse and multi-ethnic sample of people, representing different approaches and beliefs. Unfortunately, the various work commitments have never allowed us the necessary time to do it, forcing us to keep this idea in the drawer for years, until we thought of placing it inside that impromptu city, which is a film set . A microcosm in itself, not accidental, rich in a transversal human selection worthy of a tragicomedy.

This incredible opportunity allowed filmmakers to seize an essence present in many of the subjects interviewedquite common and repetitive. Perhaps it was precisely the simplicity of the answers that were given to them that struck the two, as can be deduced from their words:

The most astonishing thing was the apparent banality of the answers. I have to confess that personally I almost got angry at times and it doesn’t do me a great honor. Still, it was a true, pulsating, springing and defenseless banality that shone with humanity. It was a treasure, because what is trivial can be just as fundamental. I understood this better over time. On the other hand, every time we happen to review the documentary we find new ideas, we laugh or we are still positively surprised by statements that we know by heart, we are probably a bit stupid, but it happens. Then there are some answers that beyond the content have a disarming poetic grace.

Where to see it?

Unfortunately, when the documentary was broadcast in the United States, no one in Italy had the idea of ​​reproducing it. Today finally, after about 20 years from its airing, we Italians too have the opportunity to see it. The Big Question was first broadcast on April 12, 2023 In the multiplex Barberini From Rome. Given the incredible sold-out success, it was decided to repeat it, in the same cinema, too on April 26. Did you miss it? Don’t worry, because UAM.TV has decided to include the film in its catalog and to take it around Italy, in a series of appointments: on May 9th again at the Barberini, on the 24th of the same month at the Monicelli in Narni, on the 29th at the City Light in Milan. Following Bologna, Florence, Turin, Aosta, Vicenza and Padua.

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Magdalena Skrok is an accomplished writer who delves into the realm of new movies and TV series. With an unwavering passion for cinematic storytelling, Magdalena keeps readers informed about the latest releases, upcoming projects, and exciting developments in the world of entertainment.