Godspell Film Analysis

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The film adaptation of the religious musical Godspell composed Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebleak attempts to revitalize Christianity by expressing the teachings of Christ as expressed in the Gospel of Matthew in contemporary terms. Structured through parables primarily sung but also enacted through puppetry, storytelling, and skits; the main point of the film is to translate complex philosophical ideas into terms easily understood by a modern-day audience. In the Bible, Jesus illustrates his teaching to his disciples through stories of everyday situations. The play/film accomplishes the same task, but because Godspell is set thousands of years later, the details of the stories are once again modernized to the intended audience. The…show more content…
The 10 disciples came from all aspects of society ranging from a ballet dancer to a taxi driver, to a model; but each of the disciples found common ground by the end of the first song (“Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord”) under the teachings of Jesus. By having a diverse group of followers, Schwartz/Tebleak express the notion that anyone with an open mind to Christianity can be attracted to Jesus and similarly that anyone can spread the word of Christianity. Once again, this reinforces the subject matter present in the play, a performance expressing a modern view of the teaching of Christ. As in real life, not all of the characters immediately accept Jesus as a teacher. While subtle, some of the characters show signs of resistance to Jesus’ teachings, such as John the Baptist when attempting to learn the lesson of forgiving one’s enemies. Ultimately however, each of the 10 disciples gradually come to accept him as a prophet over the course of the film. Admittedly my understanding of Jesus and his followers is very limited and vague, but my understanding seems to align fairly well with that of the film. The twelve apostles were called upon by Jesus and all left their respective live in order to answer the call, with John the Baptist beginning to follow Jesus after Jesus’ baptism. This aspect definitely aligns with the opening scene of the film with all of the
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