Rotation.org's Outline and Guide to the BBC/HBO mini-series
(2008, BBC HBO)
“The Passion” is a four-part BBC/HBO mini-series produced in 2008. Little known in the U.S. (and NOT to be confused with Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ") this story of Jesus is quite good and refreshingly different than other attempts at capturing Jesus on film. It was a pleasure to create this outline for a little-known film that adds so much to our teaching options.
The mini-series covers the story of Christ’s last week with insight, appropriate reverence, emotional depth, and some fresh takes on familiar scenes, characters, and dialog. The language and portrayals feel authentic and gritty, not stiff or Elizabethan. The words of Jesus and general storyline stick close to scripture. The main actors are British and good.
The series does a wonderful job of depicting Jerusalem and its people with a gritty realism. Jesus himself is no white-robed, well-groomed, preachy Jesus. He is warmly portrayed as someone with feelings, sadness, resolve, dingy clothes, and sweat streaked hair. This Jesus is humble and believable, loving and compassionate. In the particularly moving Last Supper scene, he calls his disciples his “family,” and it feels like family. His agony in the Garden feels is moving.
The mini-series is particularly STRONG on the depiction of the Last Supper and Jesus' agony in Gethsemane. Here's a clip from the Last Supper scene I posted to YouTube.
The crucifixion scene is realistic and powerful, without being gory (though too strong for younger children). The resurrection scene is per John's Gospel, and the final scene of Jesus talking to Peter before disappearing into the crowd is surprisingly powerful and thought-provoking on second look. The mini-series does an interesting thing to convey the idea of Jesus being UNrecognized by Mary at the tomb and by the two disciples walking to Emmaus. When they first meet him, another actor is used to portray Jesus, and then when their eyes are opened, the actor we expect as Jesus is shown. This was startling but thought-provoking.
The total runtime of this mini-series is just under three hours, but it is broken into four parts. Our guide will help you break it down even further and know which excerpts to consider using.
AGE RANGE: See the guide for full details about "age range" and the limited depiction of violence (which is an undeniable part of the story of Jerusalem and Jesus death). Our guide helps you know when and where to skip. I would have no trouble showing "most" scenes to my older children. "All" to my youth and adults. And "some" to my younger children.
Available on Amazon and likely elsewhere. Be sure to read the DVD format compatibility notes in the guide.
Written by Neil MacQueen for Rotation.org