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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Je­sus: The Cold Case

Satur­day, 7.30pm, His­tory Multi-award-win­ning New Zealand doc­u­men­tary maker Bryan Bruce wears many hats. With a so­ci­ol­ogy, psy­chol­ogy and phi­los­o­phy de­gree un­der his arm, he taught for 10 years and was a pro­fes­sional mu­si­cian for 20 years. He has spent the past 30 or so years mak­ing films about a wide va­ri­ety of sub­jects in­clud­ing sui­cide, the Kiwi sense of hu­mour, mass mur­der­ers, child poverty, bugs and di­nosaurs. Much of his work has been picked up by in­ter­na­tional net­works. Je­sus: The

Cold Case is his most con­tro­ver­sial project. When it was fin­ished in 2011, TVNZ was at first re­luc­tant to re­lease it and some crit­ics gave it the thumbs down, but it went on to win the Aotearoa award for best doc­u­men­tary as well as sil­ver and bronze medals in re­li­gion and his­tory cat­e­gories at the New York Fes­ti­vals Tele­vi­sion & Film Awards. It’s fit­ting this pro­gram should be shown at Easter. Whether or not you ac­cept Bruce’s the­o­ries they are at least thought-pro­vok­ing. He in­tro­duces the doc­u­men­tary stand­ing out­side the walls of Old Jerusalem on the spot where Je­sus was cru­ci­fied. “Why?” he asks. “The tra­di­tional an­swer ac­cord­ing to the Gospels is that the Jews turned against him and asked Pon­tius Pi­lot to have him cru­ci­fied. Trou­ble is, I don’t think that’s how it hap­pened. So I went back to see what hap­pened be­cause to me it’s the ul­ti­mate cold case.” In talk­ing here to schol­ars and ex­perts on the sub­ject, he dis­cov­ers how a lie told in the first century about the death of Je­sus was used to change a gospel of love into a the­ol­ogy of hate.

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