The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

  • Directors: Rebecca Miller
  • Producers: Brad Pitt, Lemore Syvan
  • Writers: Rebecca Miller
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Robin Wright Penn, Alan Arkin, Keanu Reeves, Monica Bellucci, Julianne Moore, Maria Bello, Blake Lively, Winona Ryder

As a teenager nearly driven mad by her complacent pastor father Des and bipolar mother Suky, whose neurotic behavior is precipitated by an addiction to amphetamines, Pippa Sarkissian runs away from her rural home and seeks refuge with her father’s sister Trish in New York City. She is startled to discover her aunt is a lesbian and living with Kit, a dominatrix who specializes in photographing sadomasochistic scenes. Falling under Kit’s influence, Pippa rapidly descends into an underworld of illegal drugs and promiscuous sex. She is rescued from her decadent lifestyle by Herb Lee, a charismatic publisher 30 years her senior. They wed, have two children, and live a very comfortable life until Herb’s multiple heart attacks force them to sell their Manhattan apartment and settle in a retirement community in suburban Connecticut, where Pippa develops a sleep disorder. By far the youngest of all the residents, she finds herself becoming bored and restless and beginning to unravel until she meets her neighbor’s emotionally damaged son Chris, who becomes an unlikely confidante and unexpected lover. Pippa’s unswerving devotion to her husband is tested when she discovers he is having a fling of his own with Sandra Dulles, an attractive woman — even younger than his trophy wife — who has a long list of neuroses of her own.

The Passion of the Christ

  • Directors: Mel Gibson
  • Producers: Bruce Davey, Mel Gibson, Stephen McEveety
  • Writers: Benedict Fitzgerald, Mel Gibson
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: James Caviezel, Maia Morgenstern, Monica Bellucci, Hristo Naumov Shopov, Mattia Sbragia, Rosalinda Celentano

The film opens in Gethsemane in medias res as Jesus prays and is tempted by Satan, while his apostles, Peter, James, and John sleep. After receiving thirty pieces of silver, one of Jesus’ other apostles, Judas Iscariot, approaches with the temple guard and betrays Jesus with a kiss. Peter cuts off the ear of Malchus, but Jesus heals the ear. The temple guard arrest Jesus and the apostles flee. John tells Mary and Mary Magdalene of the arrest, and Peter follows Jesus at a distance. Caiaphas holds a trial of Jesus over the objection of some of the other priests, who are expelled from the court. When questioned by Caiaphas whether he is the son of God, Jesus replies “I AM”, which to Caiaphas justifies the charge of blasphemy, and Jesus is condemned to death. Three times Peter denies knowing Jesus, and the remorseful Judas returns the money. Tormented by demons, Judas flees the city and hangs himself with a rope from a dead donkey.

Caiaphas brings Jesus before Pontius Pilate to be condemned to death, but after questioning Jesus, Pilate sends him instead to the court of Herod Antipas, as Jesus is from Herod’s ruling town of Nazareth. After Jesus is returned, Pilate offers the crowd that he will chastise Jesus and will be set free. Jesus is viciously scourged but the people still demand Jesus to be crucified. Though, Pilate gives the people an option of freeing Jesus or Barabbas. When Barabbas is chosen, Jesus is sentenced to be crucified. As Jesus carries the cross along the Via Dolorosa to Calvary, Veronica wipes Jesus’s face with her veil. Simon of Cyrene is unwillingly pressed into carrying the cross for Jesus. Jesus is crucified, and after his death, a single drop of rain falls from the sky. Jesus is lowered from the cross to his mother Mary, who looks directly at the audience in this Pietà. The movie ends with Jesus’s resurrection and exit from the tomb, with the holes in his hands from the nails visible as he walks.