Monday, July 31, 2006

A Story to tell

I am a writer at heart, as I hope these pages are demonstrating. Several months ago, I emailed an internet aquaintance in California on the idea for a movie on the Nativity. I am sure that The Nativity Story was already well into the works when I wrote that email, but I can't help wondering if I could have written that screenplay. I visualized going on location for research. A dream "working vacation" for any writer -- even in an Israel currently in turmoil not far away from where the action began in Nazareth.

The intrigue of Herod's reign alone makes for an exciting background. Couple that with the mysterious magi from the east, and the politics behind a taxing and census of subjegated peoples, you then have a fascinating stage onto which Joseph and Mary step. I have not seen The Passion, but I am sure I will be seeing this less controversial movie. On the other hand, The Resurrection, coming in the spring, will probably be more of a question of interpretation, at least among some.

There are ways, of course, in which The Nativity Story may be controversial. For instance, if I were writing the story I would work in the time of year (I prefer during the "holiday" season in the fall -- though others prefer the spring). Either way goes against tradition, and would raise a stir among many. And I hope that this version works in the time interval before the magi come to see the "young child" in the "house." I'm betting, though, that it will follow tradition -- even if it leaves out the shepherds (not that it will, the writer mentioned Matthew's account when discussing sources).

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