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Thursday, April 13, 2017

A 1964 Parable About Good Friday And Easter

I recently found a link to "Parable", a short film that so moved me when I saw it with some students at Eastern Mennonite High School many years ago. It was produced by the Lutheran Council and was widely viewed at the Protestant Pavilion at the New York World's Fair in1964. 

Directed by Rolf Forsberg, the film was highly controversial at first in that the Christ-figure in it is introduced as a silent, white-robed and chalk-faced clown riding a donkey, quietly trailing an elaborate and noisy circus procession into town. This Christ is then shown moving among the abused members of the circus crew, serving and rescuing them in the oppressed state they in under the rule of Magnus, a puppeteer who strings up human beings as living marionettes and in other ways literally controls their lives. 

The Christ in the Parable (Clarence Mitchell) is then cruelly murdered by Magnus after his circus enterprise is totally disrupted by people finding freedom from his domination. In the end, a repentant Magnus smears his own face with white paint and rides the clown's donkey behind the circus parade as it leaves town. 

Here's a link if you want to view this sometime over Good Friday and Easter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCkqyyBClmU
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