Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religion & Culture / Religious Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Michel Desjardins

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Denys Arcand's 1989 film, Jesus de Montreal, retells the story of the New Testament Jesus in an imaginative fashion. Arcand uses a historical Jesus in a passion play to present the outline of his Jesus character and completes the portrait with the presentation of the modern actor, Daniel, playing the part. Together, these two components depict Arcand's version of Jesus. After explaining the scholars' treatments of the character of the New Testament Jesuses, I turned my attention to this central character, attempting to understand who and what Arcand's Jesus is. At the same time, I searched for the biblical sources of characters, scenes, and events in the film. Following a pre-arranged agreement, I sent this analysis to the "evangelist," Arcand, for his reaction. He treated my text as a professor might treat any student paper, expressing, in the margins, agreement and disagreement and occasionally providing auxiliary information. I categorized and explored his comments and attempted to learn from them, both about the film and about the relationship between critic and artist. Two lessons in particular emerged: (1) critics should be wary of assuming a totally consistent author and consequently marginalizing sections of narratives that do not seem to "fit;" (2) critics must remember that an artist can only approach full development of central themes and characters--by nature, secondary components are less-exposed and therefore more open to various interpretations.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season