spacetime coordinates: 9th century
Ingelheim am Rhein – the cathedral school in Dorestad – the Fulda monastery of Benedictines – Rome
Pope Joan (German: Die Päpstin) is an international epic film produced by Bernd Eichinger, based on American novelist Donna Woolfolk Cross‘ novel of the same name about the legendary Pope Joan. Directed by Sönke Wortmann, it stars Johanna Wokalek as Joan, David Wenham as Gerold, her lover, and John Goodman as Pope Sergius II.
The popular story of the ‘female Pope’ that has become widespread since the Middle Ages and thereafter. Pope Joan has been mentioned in works that were released several centuries after her supposed reign. Most modern scholars have dismissed the stories as fictional, due to lack of contemporary documentation, and the debunking of indirect evidence. Many theories abound that the lack of evidence is the result of successful attempts by the Catholic Church to erase Joan’s existence from history. The matter therefore remains controversial.
spacetime coordinates: 1505 – 1530 Saxony, Holy Roman Empire
Luther is a 2003 biopic about the life of Martin Luther (1483–1546) starring Joseph Fiennes. It was an independent film partially funded by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. The film covers Luther’s life from his becoming a monk to the Diet of Augsburg.
+The film takes place over the course of three decades. However, none of the characters show any signs of aging, including Luther and the youthful German emperor.+
spacetime coordinates: pre-Columbian Yucatan and Guatemala, 1502
Apocalypto is a 2006 American epic adventure film directed and produced by Mel Gibson and written by Gibson and Farhad Safinia. Similar to Gibson’s earlier film The Passion of the Christ, all dialogue is in a modern approximation of the ancient language of the setting. Here, the Yucatec Maya language is used, with English and other language subtitles, which sometimes refer to the language as Mayan.
the Way Back is a 2010 survival drama film directed by Peter Weir, from a screenplay by Weir and Keith Clarke. The film is inspired by The Long Walk (1956), the memoir by former Polish prisoner of war Sławomir Rawicz, who claimed to have escaped from a Soviet Gulag and walked 4,000 miles to freedom in World War II. The film stars Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, and Saoirse Ronan, with Alexandru Potocean, Sebastian Urzendowsky, Gustaf Skarsgård, Dragoş Bucur and Mark Strong.
Regardless of whether or not this particular “long walk” really took place, during World War II other Poles undertook difficult journeys attempting to leave the Soviet Union. Accounts of their escapes can be found in the archives of the Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum in London, and in the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, in California. Also, several relatively verifiable and believable escapee autobiographies have been published in English, e.g., Michael Krupa’s Shallow Graves in Siberia.
Many of the events that happen in the gulag scenes come from Varlam Shalamov’s The Kolyma Tales. (read/download PDF here)
Directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino
spacetime coordinate: 19th century Slavonice
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (Czech: Valerie a týden divů) is a 1970 Czechoslovakian surrealist horror film directed by Jaromil Jireš (1935–2001) and based on the 1945 novel of the same name by Vítězslav Nezval (1900–1958). It is considered part of the Czech New Wave movement.
The 1970 film adaptation of Valerie a týden divů was shot in 1969 starring 13-year-old Jaroslava Schallerová as Valerie, with a supporting cast of Helena Anýžová, Karel Engel, Jan Klusák, Petr Kopriva, among others. It was filmed in the Czech town of Slavonice and surrounding areas. The film portrays the heroine as living in a disorienting dream, cajoled by priests, vampires, men and women alike, and blends elements of fantasy and horror films.
Promotional trailer advertising the first public screening of a newly discovered print of Jaromil Jire’s legendary erotic horror-fantasy HERE
spacetime coordinate: St. Paul’s College, Macau 17th century Nagasaki, Japan
Silence is a 2016 religious historical epic drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Jay Cocks and Scorsese, based upon the 1966 novel of the same name by Shūsaku Endō. Set in Nagasaki, Japan, the film was shot entirely in Taiwan around Taipei. The film stars Andrew Garfield (as Sebastião Rodrigues), Adam Driver (as Francisco Garupe), Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano and Ciarán Hinds.
The plot follows two 17th century Jesuit priests who travel from Portugal to Japan to locate their missing mentor (Father Cristóvão Ferreira) and spread Catholic Christianity. The story is set in the time of Kakure Kirishitan (“Hidden Christians”) which followed the defeat of the Shimabara Rebellion (1637–1638) of Japanese Roman Catholics against the Tokugawa shogunate.
father Rodrigues is fascinated by the face of Jesus Christ and visualizes it in the form of this portrait by El Greco