Directed by Kirk
Starring Terry Parks and a bunch of others you've never heard of.
most obscure film on this list.
The fate of most
indy films is always a matter of luck. I saw Screen Door Jesus at the
Empire State Film Festival in Schenectady in 2003 and I felt it was the best
film of the year. Yet it didn't win the festival (despite my vote), even if it
won awards elsewhere, and it didn't get to Sundance and vanished from sight. When I
made a comment on it at the film's website, I got a personal e-mail from the
producer asking for more details.
It's a shame,
really. Screen Door Jesus is a series of interlocked stories about
religious faith in the small Texas town of Bethlehem. The title refers to an image of Jesus
found on the screen door of one of the people, and the problems it causes (the
director was clever in not showing the picture, leaving the question of whether
it actually existed up to the reader). Race also is part of the mix, first
brought out in the opening where a Black Pentecostal church congregation is
shown celebrating in song (with one white woman as part of it) then a White
Baptist congregation is shown celebrating more sedately (with one black family
in the crowd).
sequence is when one woman decides that her grandchildren need to know about
"Jesus died, but then rose from the grave."
Kid: "Like in a horror movie?"
"If you didn't have a soul, you'd be just a robot."
Grandson: "A robot? Cool!"
immortal line: "If Jesus has super powers, he could make a robot with a
There are jokes,
but ultimately, the film is a movie about belief, and respectful of it, and our
opinions of the characters change as we learn more about them. The
grandmother I'm quoting is a bit ridiculous, but turns out to be much more a
figure you feel sorry for by the end.
If you go to the
Screen Door Jesus website, you can find a few clips.
I see that
they're still plugging away with it, trying to reach the religious audiences
that made Passion of the Christ a hit. I'm skeptical that the attitudes
will play well, but if it makes the film a success, more power to it.