Best Fantasy Movies of 1906
The Birth, the Life, and the Death of Christ
La Vie du Christ was released in Paris in April, 1906, and subsequently distributed with newly translated intertitles May, 1907 in the United States. Seen today, the film seems brief, running 2,164 35mm feet, or slightly less than 25 minutes running time at a standardized projection speed of 24 fps, or 90 feet per minute. It is divided into 25 separate scenes, from the arrival in Bethlehem, in which Joseph and Mary are turned away from the stable, to the burial of Christ. By the standards of the period, La Vie du Christ was both ambitious and lavish in production, as well as epic in running time, in an era in which most films lasted only a few minutes. In each of the sequences of La Vie du Christ, Guy seeks to ritualize the life and death of Christ as a series of performative actions, told through gesture and silence alone, in which the stations of Christ's life can be segmented into a series of performative tableaux.