Saturday, August 16, 2008

Constantine's Sword

The references to JESUS CAMP and THE DAVINCI CODE are off-putting, but the pacifist in me is intrigued, and I'd never be one to let marketers and reviewers stand in the way of what might be an interesting film. 

New on DVD

James Carroll’s
An Astonishing Exploration of the Dark Side of Christianity

Available on DVD beginning September 16, 2008

CONSTANTINE'S SWORD is the latest film by Oscar-nominated director Oren Jacoby (Sister Rose's Passion) and is based on the best-selling book by James Carroll, a National Book Award winner and columnist for the Boston Globe. Carroll is a practicing Catholic whose search for the truth leads him to confront persecution and violence in the name of God – today and in the Church’s past. He discovers a terrible legacy that reverberates across the centuries: from the Emperor Constantine’s vision of the cross as a sword and symbol of power, to the rise of genocidal anti-Semitism, to modern day wars sparked by religious extremism.

At its heart, CONSTANTINE’S SWORD is a detective story, as Carroll journeys into his own past (his father was a U.S. Air Force General who helped prepare for nuclear war) and into the wider world, where he uncovers evidence of church-sanctioned violence against non-Christians. At the Air Force Academy, he and Jacoby expose how some evangelicals are proselytizing inside our country's armed forces and reveal the dangerous consequences of religious influence on American foreign policy.

Warning of what happens when military power and religious fervor are joined, this timely film asks the question: is the fanaticism that threatens the world today fueled by our own deeply held beliefs?

Director Oren Jacoby is an Oscar-nominated filmmaker who has written, directed, and produced award-winning films for more than two decades. He has made documentaries for the BBC, ABC, HBO, PBS, National Geographic, VH-1, and NHK. His last film, “Sister Rose’s Passion”, was winner of Best Documentary Short at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival and was nominated for a 2005 Academy Award. He has also won CINE Golden Eagles, the Royal Television Society’s journalism award, and a MacArthur Golden Owl award.

CONSTANTINE’S SWORD features an extraordinary array of voicing talents, from Liev Schreiber and Natasha Richardson to Phillip Bosco and Eli Wallach. The music score is by the mulit-talented and award-winning composer Joel Goodman.

DVD Bonus Features: Introduction by Gabriel Byrne • Extended Scene & Outtake
• Director's Notes • Filmmaker Bios

“Enthralling! [Carroll] is an eloquent screen presence. The movie dives into the distant past for Mr. Carroll's alternative, shadow history of the Catholic Church.”
- Stephen Holden, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“Like The Da Vinci Code, it grasps at the enigmatic flux of Christian history.
Whatever your persuasion, you'll walk out enriched.”

“Engrossing and evocative!" - Roger Ebert, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

“Astonishing!” - Jeffrey Lyons, NBC'S REEL TALK

“Provocative, searching, and intellectually lively!" - Jim Ridley, VILLAGE VOICE

“Magnificent, thought-provoking!” - Ronnie Scheib, VARIETY

“Fiercely eloquent." -Ty Burr, BOSTON GLOBE

"A blistering indictment of papal practices from Hitler's era through the present day. It is a film worth watching." -Erica Orden, NEW YORK SUN

“Exhilarating! Scarier than Jesus Camp (and infinitely smarter)."

“Eye-opening…moments that are simply amazing. James Carroll is a treasure and a marvelous teller of truths." - Eric Goldman, NJ JEWISH STANDARD

“A fascinating journey...that couldn't have come at a better time."

95 minutes, color & b/w, 2008
UPC #: 7-20229-91335-5 • Catalog #: FRF 913355D
Suggested Retail Price: $24.95 (U.S. & Canada)
Pre-book Date: August 12 • Street Date: September 16

For downloadable images and press notes go to:


Pie Man said...

I'm curious to as to what you thought of 'Jesus Camp' that off-put you. I had a hard time digesting that movie, myself.

Ron Reed said...

Hi, Pie! Nice to hear from you.

It's just that the way JC is invoked in the CONSTANTINE'S SWORD promotional stuff seems to be calculated to appeal to potential viewers at an "Aren't those Christians wrecked" level. Viewers who aren't crazy about Christians pretty much see JESUS CAMP as a religious freak show. (Of course, some Christians definitely are freaks. Hey, some of my best friends are freaks.) But I think about what JESUS CAMP and DA VINCI CODE have in common, and the warning bells ring.