We went to the Cinéma Le Stockel this evening with Italian friends to see La Passione, a film directed by Carlo Mazzacurati that was in competition at the Venice Festival this year. The Stockel cinema has a programme of occasional Italian films, in Italian and, as with the theatre last Friday, it is nice to sit in an Italian audience – there is, somehow, indefinably, a different atmosphere. The film has had varying reviews. One critic thought it brilliant. Another thought it full of joy. The consensus among our group was that the plot sprawled a bit and whilst the film had some great comic moments it didn’t live up to its potential. The basic story line is about a bevy of misfits, led by a fifty-something alternative film director who has run out of inspiration (Gianni Dubois, played by Silvio Orlandi), organising the passion of Christ on a Good Friday in a small Tuscan village. There are lots of in-jokes about the creative process and Giuseppe Battiston (as Ramiro) gives a wonderful performance as a last-minute replacement Jesus. Indeed, this situation gives rise to some of the best one-liners in the film: Ramiro, ‘I’m fat’, Orlandi, ‘Even Jesus would be fat today’ and ‘In this world nobody is indispensable, not even Jesus Christ.’ Good fun, then, but it could have been better.