CONSPIRACY and action-packed thrillers, The Da Vinci Code and Mission Impossible III are set to rock Zimbabwe cinemas soon, Independe
ntXtra has gathered.
The two motion pictures have taken the cinematic world by storm and will indeed come as welcome distraction for stress- ridden Zimbabweans still with disposable income to spare. The cinemas are fast becoming a haven of mental relaxation amid a six-year economic meltdown.
The Da Vinci Code, which is largely viewed by many as a fictional plot propagating that Jesus Christ has been reinvented for political purposes while attacking the foundations of Christianity, is likely to lure many a film fan locally because of its controversy and worldwide criticism.
Ster Kinekor cinemas complex manager for Eastgate, Patson Mago, this week said the South African-owned movie house is going to flight the highly anticipated film in July, which premiered in South Africa a fortnight ago.
“We are expecting deliveries at most by end of June,” said Mago. “After receiving the film from South Africa, we then need to line it up for release and it will be ready for the big screen by July. The only problem is that it’s a controversial film and it has attracted global criticism, therefore likely to show for a longer period in South African cinemas than we anticipate.”
The Da Vinci Code stars prominent Hollywood actor Tom Hanks, actress Audrey Tautou alongside the likes of Ian McKellen and Alfred Monila. It was directed and co-produced by Ron Howard and John Calley together with Brian Grazer respectively. The motion picture runs for approximately 148 minutes.
According to a synopsis of the film by movie website Tribute.ca: “While in Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum. Near the body, police have found a baffling cipher. While working to solve the enigmatic riddle, Langdon is stunned to discover it leads to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, clues visible for all to see yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.”
The site adds: “Langdon joins forces with a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, and learns the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion, an actual secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci, among others. In a breathless race through Paris, London, and beyond, Langdon and Neveu match wits with a faceless powerbroker who seems to anticipate their every move. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle in time, the Priory’s ancient secret and an explosive historical truth will be lost forever.”
The Da Vinci Code is based on the best-selling novel by Dan Brown. It was first published in 2003 and has become a worldwide bestseller with over nine million copies having been sold that year alone. According to the novel, the secrets of the Holy Grail, as kept by the Priory of Sion, are as follows: “The Holy Grail is not a physical chalice, but a woman, namely Mary Magdalene, who helped to carry the bloodline of Christ into the following ages; Mary Magdalene was of royal descent (through the Jewish House of Benjamin) and was the wife of Jesus, of the House of David.”
It argues that Magdalene was a prostitute and a history was invented by the Catholic Church to obscure their true relationship. At the time of the crucifixion, she was pregnant. After the crucifixion, she fled to Gaul, where she was sheltered by the Jews of Marseilles. She gave birth to a daughter, named Sarah. The bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene became the Merovingian dynasty of France.
However, independent arts and media commentator, Sizwe Thuthuka, dismissed the notion that the book is an attack on Christianity, but conceded that it has profound effects on Catholicism. “Sixty million copies had been printed by mid 2005,” said Thuthuka. “By then the book was only two years old. The book has been reprinted in 44 languages and there appears to be no evidence that this is the maximum limit. The Bible has been printed in more than 2 100 languages, and has sold five billion copies since 1815.”
Thuthuka added that the novel on which the film is based is thought-provoking but should not be regarded as an attack on Christianity. “Rather it is a direct critique of Catholicism. It generates a lot of speculation concerning the Holy Grail legend and the role of Mary Magdalene in the history of Christianity.”
On the film’s impact on the Zimbabwean scene Thuthuka said: “It remains to be seen what effect it will have on Zimbabweans if introduced. It may create confusion as sometimes it is unclear whether what it is talking about is speculation or fact. The truth about history is only known by those who lived it. Mediated recounts of history often leave the individuals no better than the uninformed. No doubt, those that have written history have sought to maintain existing power structures. The Bible is no exception.”
l Meanwhile action hero, Tom Cruise bounces back with his stunt-loaded moving sequel Mission Impossible III, which opened in the United States last month. According to an official at Rainbow Theatres, the film will be presented to the Zimbabwean audience this month “depending on how quick we process the shipping forms”.
The thriller was directed by JJ Abrams and jointly produced by Cruise himself together with Paula Wagner. It has a running time of 126 minutes and consists of a star-studded cast, which includes Philip Seymour Hoffman and Keri Russell, among others.
The movies synopsis according to Tribute.ca is thus: “Secret Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) confronts the toughest villain he’s ever faced, Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman), an international weapons and information provider with no remorse and no conscience.”