Holy week or Mahal na Araw is one of the most important religious observance we Filipinos have every year. Just like Christmas season, Filipinos, whom the majority are Roman Catholics, do a lot of preparations for the Lenten season. Actually it is a much longer celebration which started with the Ash Wednesday and will end on Easter Sunday. Unlike Christmas wherein we are awaiting for the birth of Christ, the Lenten Season is the time when Jesus was able to fulfill His mission here on Earth. It is also the time for us to reflect and ask forgiveness for the sins we’ve made.
There are so many ways for us to reflect, some of us attend retreats, read books or bible stories, listen to hail songs or radio dramas about Christ or watch movies. Speaking of which, I have here my own list of movies which you may watch this Holy Week.
1. The Ten Commandments. It may be an old movie and not about Jesus but it is the first movie that comes to my mind every Holy Week because it’s like a default Holy Week movie I’ve watch for as long as I can remember. It was directed by Cecile B. Demille and the story is about how God delivered the Israelites from slavery under the cruel Pharaoh of Egypt through Moses.
2. The Prince of Egypt. For those with children at home, The Prince of Egypt would be a much better choice than “The Ten Commandments. This animated biblical film produced by DreamWorks Picture in 1998 is an adaptation Book of Exodus about the ironic life of Moses being raised as being a prince of Egypt but destined to be the deliverer of the Israelites.
3. The Passion of the Christ. Now, who haven’t heard of this movie? It was released back in 2004 under the great direction of Mel Gibson and a very justified portrayal of Jim Caviezel. The movie provides a very vivid picture of how Jesus Christ horribly suffered under the hands of the Roman soldiers and conquered death.
4. Kristo. This movie is a Filipino version of Jesus’ life, preaching, death, resurrection and ascension to heaven based on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It was released in 1996 directed by Ben Yalung and stared by Mat Ranillo III as Jesus.
5. King of Kings. This is another classic movie about the life of Jesus Christ. It was directed by Nicholas Ray and it presents a simple and direct approach on how Christ went through all the sorrows and pains just to save us from our sins.
6. Son of God. This is the newest movie on my list. It was released last year with Diogo Morgado as Jesus and directed by Christopher Spencer. It depicts the life story of Jesus starting from birth, to the time he started preaching until he was crucified and finally resurrected back from the dead.
7. The Da Vinci Code. I know it does not exactly portray the life or teachings of Jesus but I actually find it very educational. Plus it also makes us reflect on our faith as Christians. It is based from one of Dan Brown’s bestselling novel published in 2003. It hit the cinemas in 2006 and became one of the most talked-about movies of the year.
8. Angels and Demons. This movie is another adaptation of Dan Brown’s novel. It is a sequel of “The Da Vinci Code” and a continuation of his lead character Tom Hanks (Professor Robert Landon). It will make you want to know more about the history of Christianity and the governance in Vatican City.
9. Himala. This is a Filipino film stared by no less than Nora Aunor released in 1982. It is a story about a young woman named Elsa who claimed to have seen the Blessed Virgin Mary on a hill where she was found by her adoptive mother as a baby and faith healing but later on proclaimed that there was never really a miracle (Walang Himala). This story tells us not to believe in hearsays and not put our faith on a person who claims to be blessed. Instead we should only put our faith in God.
10. Sa’yo Lamang. This is another star-studded Filipino movie including Christopher De Leon, Lorna Tolentino and Bea Alonzo. It is a story about Filipino family and forgiveness. I think this movie would be advisable as Pope Francis calls for us to have a stronger family bond.
11. Bruce Almighty. This comedy-drama film starred by Jim Carrey as Bruce Nolan will not only make us laugh but also give us important lessons about love and our choices in life. If you think that life is unfair and you’re always complaining to God, this is the best movie for you to watch this Lent season.
12. The Pursuit of Happyness. This film is considered one of the most inspirational movies of all time. It is based on the story of Chris Gardner’s nearly one-year struggle with homelessness. Although the story is not focused on the life of Jesus, it teaches us two things that God wants us to have to overcome our struggles in life: patience and faithfulness.
I hope you enjoy watching these movies with your family this Holy Week. God bless!