On Jesus of Montreal

In my mid-teens, these are the things I used to prove that I was cooler than you (despite so much evidence to the contrary):

  • A copy of Plato’s Republic (library copy, largely unread and definitely not understood) that I carried everywhere, including to my first ever date.
  • My love for the movie Jesus of Montreal. Or, as I would probably say it at the time, Jee-soo doo Mon-tree-AL.

I had quite the French accent at the time. My German teacher told me I had the best French accent in her class, which was very kind.

Jesus of Montreal was, of course, in French, with subtitles. It was from Canada, which was not quite as cool as an actual French film – such as Cyrano, which I also couldn’t stop telling people was awesome – but it was one huge metaphor. And who doesn’t love just getting a movie?

From memory, it was a movie about a Passion Play, where the actors and their characters merged until it was (apparently) hard to tell what was real and what was pretend.

It was just the thing a 15 year old who was desperate to feel special and different would latch on to. And [SPOILERS] the ending was especially perfect. The guy playing Jesus died – and his organs were harvested so he did indeed live on after his death.

Oh, I completely understood that. GENIUS.

I have no idea if Jesus of Montreal is any good. I watched it a few times in that heady, shameful adolescent phase, and then moved on. It might be genuinely great, despite never seeming to be mentioned in modern film discussions. Maybe I’ll find it on some streaming service and give it a go. Or maybe I’ll leave it in my past, with Plato, Thriller, and fingerless gloves, where it maybe best belongs.

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