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November 27, 2006

The Nativity Story. One family. One journey. One child who would change the world forever

November 27, 2006 | By | 7 Comments

Your Business Blogger and Charmaine and the Penta-Posse were honored to attend a private screening of The Nativity Story Saturday morning before last, in Northern Virginia. This is an unpaid review. We even bought our own popcorn.

(Multi-plex Theaters: the movies are a front; The real money is in the concession stands.)


The Nativity Story

Pope Benedict XVI turned down an invitation to attend the premiere on Sunday, November 26th, even though nativity_joseph_mary_jesus.png

Joseph and Mary and

baby Jesus it was screened in his backyard, The Vatican. The Nativity Story is a (true) story about an unmarried pregnant woman. The Catholic Church frowns on such conditions.

You would have thought that the Pope would have granted an indulgence for this one exception, this one out-of-wedlock birth.

Maybe just this one. Mary’s. The Pope should have watched The Nativity Story.

For the Baby Jesus: Prophet, Prince and King.

I don’t blame him, though, for being leary of a Hollywood interpretation of the Savior’s birth. Given their track-record. But they played it straight, remained faithful to the original script, and have made a movie well worth seeing.

The movie opens on December 1st. Even though the Pope didn’t see it; you should. Go see it this weekend and let us know what you think.

Charmaine didn’t care for the Deep Space 9/Gabriel the archangel character. Too much a-blending of science fiction and theology. Not that Godless liberals could tell the difference.

The film gets its PG rating for the violence. Which really wasn’t all that bad for our times, or for the turn of the last millennium. The movie opens with Roman soldiers drawing their short swords to chop up all the baby boys under two. No blood, no gore was depicted. (The Dude, pre-teen, was mildly disappointed.) But the scene was terrifying enough. Your women-folk will cry.

However, no actual babies or animals were harmed in the making of the film. Only in real life.


The Three Wise Men


Herod, right and his son. Really Bad Guys.

One of my favorite parts was where Herod’s tax collectors would extract interest and penalties totaling one-third of a man’s estate. Crucifixion compels compliance.


However, we haven’t seen a 1/3 tax rate since, well, Christ was born.

Goodness, tax collectors nowadays take 45% of our income each year.

Maybe the Romans were more civilized than we are today.

When you go to the movie, do get there on time, it starts fast with little credit rolling at the beginning.

And as Keith Appell from Creative Response Concepts says, “Prepare to be entertained.”

My hero of the movie, and on this side of eternity, would be Joseph. His actions taking care of Mary, make him a better man than most. Especially for the shame he’d have to endure.

The other (anti) hero would be Herod, for keeping taxes low.

The Nativity, The Birth changed the world. The movie could change your life.


Thank you (foot)notes:

Publicity for the private screening was ably handled by Creative Response Concepts who invited Your Business Blogger, Kith and Kin to attend the screening for New Line Cinema.

For Cinephiles by a Cinephile has analysis and links.

UPDATE: Drudge reports The Nativity Story booted out of Chicago public festival.

By DON BABWIN, CHICAGO (AP) – A public Christmas festival is no place for the Christmas story, the city says. Officials have asked organizers of a downtown Christmas festival, the German Christkindlmarket, to reconsider using a movie studio as a sponsor because it is worried ads for its film “The Nativity Story” might offend non-Christians.

New Line Cinema, which said it was dropped, had planned to play a loop of the new film on televisions at the event. The decision had both the studio and a prominent Christian group shaking their heads.

“The last time I checked, the first six letters of Christmas still spell out Christ,” said Paul Braoudakis, spokesman for the Barrington, Ill.-based Willow Creek Association, a group of more than 11,000 churches of various denominations. “It’s tantamount to celebrating Lincoln’s birthday without talking about Abraham Lincoln.”

From Reuters via HecklerSrpay,

The audience of some 8,000 people who attended a benefit gala premiere in the Vatican’s vast Paul VI Hall broke into applause five times during the screening and again at the end. It was the first feature film to premiere at the Vatican. “It is well done,” said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, who ranks second only to Pope Benedict in the Vatican hierarchy. “It re-proposes this event which changed history with realism but also with a sense of great respect of the mystery of the nativity,” he told reporters afterwards. “It is a good cinematic event …the judgement is positive.

Full Cast and Crew for The Nativity Story (2006) From IMDb, unpaid link, offers representation listings for over 65,000 individuals, including actors, directors, and producers, as well as contact details for over 10,000 companies in the entertainment industry.

Directed by Catherine Hardwicke

Writing credits (WGA) Mike Rich (written by)

Cast (in credits order)

Keisha Castle-Hughes …. Mary

Oscar Isaac …. Joseph

Hiam Abbass …. Anna

Shaun Toub …. Joaquim

Ciarán Hinds …. King Herod

Shohreh Aghdashloo …. Elizabeth

Stanley Townsend …. Zechariah

Emilia Fortunato …. Bethlehem Townsperson #8

Alexander Siddig …. The Angel Gabriel

Nadim Sawalha …. Melchior

Eriq Ebouaney …. Balthasar

Stefan Kalipha …. Gaspar

Alessandro Giuggioli …. Antipas

Farida Ouchani …. Ruth

Saïd Amadis …. Tero

Maria Giovanna Donzelli …. Mary’s Friend #1

Francesca Piliero …. Mary’s Friend #2

Serge Feuillard …. Eldest Priest

Kais Nashif …. Benjamin

Andy Lucas …. Tax Collector #1

Tomer Sisley …. Tax Collector #2

Jeffery Kissoon …. Harod’s Architect

Lucia Zotti …. Elizabeth’s Aunt

Monica Contini …. Elizabeth’s Cousin

Paola Sotgiu …. Midwife

Gabriele Scharnitzky …. Palm Reader

Stewart Scudamore …. Street Preacher

Chiara Di Pede …. Girl Taken By Soldiers

Zinedine Soualem …. Girl’s Father

Luciana Paolicelli …. Girl’s Mother

Damir Todorovic …. Soldier at Collection

Matt Patresi …. Sentry Soldier

Ted Rusoff …. Old Shepherd

Sami Samir …. Thief

Yvonne Sciò …. Thief’s Accomplice (as Yvonne Brulatour Sciò)

Andrea Bruschi …. Bethlehem Townsperson #1

Jean-Claude Deret …. Bethlehem Townsperson #2 (as Jean-Claude Breitman-Deret)

Angela Iurilli …. Bethlehem Townsperson #3

Francesco Martoccia …. Bethlehem Townsperson #4

Alessandro Piscitelli …. Bethlehem Townsperson #5

Maria Antonietta DiMonte …. Bethlehem Townsperson #6

Emilio Adrisani …. Bethlehem Townsperson #7

Marty Bowen …. producer

Wyck Godfrey …. producer

Enzo Sisti …. line producer

Tim Van Rellim …. executive producer

Original Music by Mychael Danna

Cinematography by Elliot Davis

Film Editing by Robert K. Lambert (chief film editor)

Stuart Levy

Casting by

Priscilla John

Mindy Marin

Juliette Ménager

Shaila Rubin

Production Design by Stefano Maria Ortolani

Art Direction by Maria-Teresa Barbasso

Marco Trentini

Set Decoration by Alessandra Querzola

Costume Design by Maurizio Millenotti

Makeup Department, Abounouom Mariam Lee …. makeup artist

Production Management

Andrea Alunni …. unit manager

Jay Vinitsky …. post-production supervisor

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Tarik Ait Ben Ali …. second second assistant director: Morocco

Inti Carboni …. first assistant director: second unit

Yann Mari Faget …. second assistant director: Morocco

Alessandra Fortuna …. second second assistant director

Richard Graysmark …. second assistant director

Ahmed Hatimi …. first assistant director: Morocco

Jamie Marshall …. first assistant director: second unit

Justin Muller …. first assistant director

Edoardo Petti …. second assistant director: Italy

Art Department

Francesca Birri …. construction coordinator

Massimo Ciaraglia …. props

Cristiano Donzelli …. storyboard artist

Roberta Federico …. assistant art director

Jon Marson …. key greensman

Monica Sallustio …. assistant art director

Daniela Voccia …. assistant art director

Daniela Voccia …. assistant production designer

Sound Department

Beau Borders …. sound re-recording mixer

Gary C. Bourgeois …. sound re-recording mixer

Joe Breaux …. assistant music editor

Rickley W. Dumm …. sound effects editor

Russell Farmarco …. supervising adr & dialogue editor

Richard Ford …. music editor

Luis Galdames …. assistant sound editor

Brad Haehnel …. scoring mixer

Catherine Harper …. foley artist

Darrin Mann …. foley mixer

Sarah Payan …. dialogue editor

Greg Steele …. adr mixer

Cameron Steenhagen …. dialogue editor

Dylan Voigt …. sound mixer: second unit

Greg Zimmerman …. adr recordist

Iain Jamieson …. assistant adr recordist (uncredited)

Special Effects by

Renato Agostini …. special effects supervisor

Danilo Bollettini …. special effects foreman

Maurizio Corridori …. special effects coordinator

Franco Simeone …. special effects technician

Visual Effects by

Brian Begun …. digital compositor: Digital Domain

Sean Coonce …. digital artist: Hammerhead

Lee Croft …. digital paint & rotoscope lead: Digital Domain

Brady Doyle …. visual effects coordinator: Hammerhead

Michelle Eisenreich …. visual effects producer: Hammerhead

Theresa Ellis …. visual effects supervisor

Florian Gellinger …. digital effects supervisor

Scott Harper …. visual effects supervisor

Darin Hilton …. matte painter

Brian Jones …. visual effects editor

James Kuroda …. digital compositor: Digital Domain

Dan Levitan …. digital supervisor

Mamie McCall …. animator

Daniel Mellitz …. digital artist

Todd Perry …. technical director

Corinne Pooler …. visual effects producer: Digital Dream

M. Zachary Sherman …. digital effects artist

Jay Shindell …. visual effects

Carsten Woithe …. visual effects: previz

Dan Patterson …. digital character artist: Digital Domain (uncredited)


Joseph Beddelem …. stunts

Philippe Losson …. stunts

Stefano Maria Mioni …. stunt coordinator: Italy

Emiliano Novelli …. stunts

Marco Pancrazi …. stunts

Francois Poirier …. stunts

Cedric Proust …. stunt coordinator

Massimo Racca …. stunts

Gabriele Ragusa …. stunt double

Sgarbi Roberto …. stunts

Florian Robin …. stunts

Other crew

Ngadi Abdeslam …. assistant location manager

Barbara Adducci …. assistant production coordinator

Faith Allbeson …. casting associate

Khalid Ameskane …. transportation captain

Carlo Antonioni …. horse master: Italy

Andy Arnautov …. gaffer: Morocco

Mohamed Atbir …. production assistant

Yael Aviv …. casting: Israel

Cassandra Barbour …. rights and clearances

Ludovico Bettarello …. digital dailies encoding: Technicolor Rome

Ludovico Bettarello …. digital dailies online

Alessio Bramucci …. best boy electric

Gary Burritt …. negative cutter

Sabrina Canale …. assistant to executive producer

Giovanni Casalnuovo …. associate costume designer

Houssna Choukri …. assistant: M. Tim Van Rellim

Claudia Cimmino …. travel coordinator

Leonardo de Angelis …. transportation captain

Jessica Drake …. supervising dialect coach

Saida Elidrissi …. production secretary

Julio Ferrario …. creative director: main titles

Alice Filippi …. set production assistant

Paolo Frasson …. dolly grip

William J. Fulco …. consultant: theology and aramaic

Gian Claudio Giacomini …. second assistant camera: “a” camera, second unit

Pamela B. Green …. main title producer

Holly Hagy …. production coordinator

Harvey Harrison …. director of photography: second unit

Rebecca Higginson …. costumer: second unit

Rob Hoffman …. assistant: Catherine Hardwicke

Russ Howard III …. music programmer

Zinedine Ibnou Jabal …. casting: Morocco

Hervé Jakubowicz …. casting: France

Silvie Janculová …. travel coordinator

Lara Khachooni …. first assistant editor

Kara Lipson …. casting associate

Norma Marie Mascia …. production coordinator

Alex Matcham …. production controller

Ryan Miningham …. general assistant

Nata More …. set production assistant

Cariddi Nardulli …. assistant: Enzo Sisti

Daniela Ovi …. post-production assistant

Erik Paoletti …. location manager

Jim Passon …. color timer

Robert E. Phillips …. digital intermediate assistant producer

Cedric Proust …. animal trainer

Hicham Regragui …. transportation coordinator

Prokop Satochin …. key grip: second unit

Annalisa Schmid …. accommodation coordinator

Russell Scott …. casting associate

Laura Sevier …. rights and clearances

Jaromir Simek …. rigging gaffer

Stefania Sisti …. production secretary

Jesse Springer …. consultant: visuals and story

Wanda Zaccaro …. assistant to actress

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  1. On the film: Looks completly uninteresting, and its not a true story. That Y chromosome had to come from someone.

    Christmas: A Christian holiday? Only by adoption. Christmas has bits and pieces from many sources. Christian, pagan, secular, and just commercial. Even its date has no connection to Christ, it was just times to coincide with a romen celebration for the sake of convenience.

    Holly, berries… pagan. Santa, who probably gets more attention than Jesus at this time of year, was a vague myth based on a christian saint but now distorted beyond all recognition. The whole north-pole-and-raindeer thing is pure fantasy with just a hint of pagan influence. Yule log, pagan fertility and new-year ritual. Its so un-christian, that just after the English Civil War a very strict Christian – Cromwell – tried to ban celebrating the holiday entirely – on the grounds that all this dancing and present-giving is no way to celebrate the birth of the savior.

    A friend of mine wrote a post on the subject which makes very interesting reading. I dont want to link to his blog here, so I made a copy of it:

  2. How come this never remembers my personal info? 🙂 Heh…

    Randall and I saw a private screening of this movie last night and the place was packed out. The audience cheered at the end and that was very cool.

    I also didn’t like the angel…to me it was creepy….augh….but the overall movie was pretty good.

    Although I think it started out boring and kids under 10 or 11 might not enjoy or understand the film.

    I loved the ending though…and the wise men. They were cool.

    Oh and our popcorn and slurpee was only a mere $15 🙂

  3. Jenny

    Hi there. I loved the film. Just saw it this morning (Australian time). I’ve come across this site while looking for information about the costumes used. I am a knitter who is also getting into weaving and would really like more info on how these costumes were made and the clothing of the time. Does anyone know where I could get this kind of info? Please email me on if you do.


  4. Today, we took our whole staff at Park Community Church to see The Nativity Story. My instant review is that it is faithful to the Biblical story, given that there is not a lot of scriptural text to work with in making the film. I agreed with Peter Chattaway of Christianity Today who said ” Castle-Hughes was a bit of a blank”.

    Overall, I felt the strongest character was Joseph, who faced a cultural uncomfortable situation, (pregnant fiancée), yet continually showed us that he would do the right thing and make the right decision, in leading and guiding his family. In this film, Joseph is freed to show us the struggles that he faced – no whitewashing of the strain he felt in his home village and the sense of betrayal by Mary. Yet he shows us a sense of humor on the journey.

    I think this was brilliantly filmed in Morocco, Italy, Nazareth and France and served as an authentic story-telling of the Nativity story when the God of the universe stepped into our reality and allowed His son to be born of a human mother.

  5. Tax Carnival #7: Merry Taxes!

    You think my greeting is a bit early, right? Not so, my skeptical little elves. Even as you rush from store to store, online cart to mall, you need to make a little time for taxes this month so that you don’t end up with a terrible tax surprise when Ap…

  6. I don’t think the movies are a “front.” I think they’re a loss-leader…

    …and I’m looking forward to seeing this. Regarding the first comment: too archly uninformed about the historical development of the Christmas holy day. Superficial knowledge of coincidental information doesn’t prove an argument.

  7. Pat Patterson

    Haven’t seen the film yet but definitely looking forward to Ciaran Hinds as Herod the Great. How can someone not get interested in the machinations of a character that is the King of Judaea but was not considered Jewish. Plus Hinds has now played Julius Caesar, the premier of Russia, a child molester and Rochester(not the Jack Benny one).

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