I am a big fan of the Lumo Project, which is seeking—for the first time—to film all four Gospels as feature films, using only the unabridged biblical text as their script.
Watching these films really brings out how Anglicized or Western are many of the Jesus movies are.
But how do you get a cast of actors who speak fluent, undistracting English and yet look like the part of Mediterranean Jews?
In December 2002 Popular Mechanics reported on scientists and archaeologists using forensic anthropology to reconstruct what a first-century Galilean Semite might have looked like, with the following result:
The way that the Lumo Project solved this issue was by having Selva Rasalingam play Jesus. Rasalingam, whose ethnicity is partly Tamil, looks more like the picture above than the typical Anglo-Jesus version.
Furthermore, the actors in the film speak Aramaic. But you can’t really hear their dialogue clearly. Rather, you hear the voice of the narrator, British actor David Harewood. Harewood is essentially reading the Gospel of John word-for-word (you can choose whether to hear it as NIV, KJV, or in the Spanish Reina-Valera translation) as the actors depict the scenes.
One exciting aspect of this approach is that the film can be translated with relative ease into multiple languages, since it only requires one voice-over narrator to read the biblical text. The film is currently available in the following languages:
The film is shot on location in Morocco, and the cinematography is at times beautiful. There is also an appropriate use of CGI to reconstruct the city of Jerusalem from a difference.
The first release was the The Gospel of John (2015):
Now, The Gospel of Mark (2017) is available for rent or purchase. Here is a scene:
Here are some other videos on how the films were made, narrated, and constructed: