Jesus of Montreal (1989)—Canada
In Montreal an aging priest is unhappy with his church's annual production of the passion play, so after thirty-five years he hires a young actor named Daniel Coloumbe to play Jesus and upgrade the show. Coloumbe gathers four other actors and together they put on an avant-garde performance. Their efforts shock the priest, who must answer to the church authorities, but also thrill the crowds, who are deeply moved by the provocative message. In fact, Coloumbe's life begins to imitate his art, which art was imitating the life of Christ. Beyond the stage and in real life, Coloumbe becomes a Christ figure to those around him, and, in addition to the good he does, he suffers the same fate as the original Messiah. The film begs an important question: to what extent do religious institutions tame the subversive message of the gospel that they claim to promote? How would we respond if the real Jesus showed up in our own neighborhood? In French with English subtitles.