Synopsis by Bhob Stewart
Alessandro D'Alatri directed this Italian drama about Jesus Christ, covering his childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, an 18-year span not chronicled in the Bible. The film uses names of the period instead of names given in the Bible. The adult Jeoshua (Kim Rossi Stuart) reflects on past events -- his journey into the desert, baptism, acceptance into the Essenes' community, Jewish life in Galilee, his yeshiva studies, education from his father Josef (Omar Chenbod), and his spiritual growth. After seeing slavery, crucifixions, the stoning of an adulteress, and brutal Roman soldiers, Jeoshua turns to God for answers, leaves the village, and is betrayed by his friend Aziz (Said Taghmaoui), who leaves him to die in the desert. Issues such as carnality bring Jeoshua in conflict with the Essenes, yet he speaks out on behalf of the Essene David (popular Italian singer Lorenzo Cherubini). Journeying forth once more, Jeoshua rejoins his cousin Jochannan (Boris Terral), later known as John the Baptist, who recognizes Jeoshua's link to God. Shot in the Moroccan desert by lenser Federico Masiero, the film combines chants, vocals, and Middle Eastern-styled music by Pivio and Aldo De Scalzi. Shown at the 1998 Venice Film Festival.