This review also appears at Earthpages.org
Synchronicity is a hard thing to prove. Even harder is to prove an idea by citing a series of perceived synchronicities.
And this is exactly what Dan Green sets out to do in The Murder of Mary Magdalene: Genocide of the Holy Bloodline.
Offering an alternative history to the story of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, Green weaves an intricate tapestry of symbols, codes, clues and events to support his belief that Mary Magdalene was murdered to prevent word from getting out that she and Jesus Christ were much closer than the official story tells us.
This is the kind of thing that gets traditional religious persons up in arms. Similar claims made in The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (1982) led that book to be banned in strongly Catholic countries such as the Philippines.
Likewise, Dan Brown’s work of fiction The Da Vinci Code (2003) sparked heated debate and its overall content was deemed “offensive” by many Catholics.
Sociologists and professors of religion like John Gager suggest that whenever the truth claims and associated practices of a rival out-group get a bit too close for comfort to the beliefs and practices of an established in-group, members of the in-group become upset.
At this point the in-group feels the need to better define its boundaries, which may lead to exclusion, condemnation or, as we’ve seen in the often grisly march of human history, persecution.
According to this theory, it’s the similarity of the two groups that riles the in-group. Radically different out-groups lacking some kind of thematic overlap with an in-group are usually ignored. But when an out-group hits a nerve by getting too ideologically near to the in-group—that’s when sparks will fly.
This social-psychological dynamic apparently took place between the early Christians and the Gnostics. And a similar kind of dynamic has evidently continued to this day.
As for The Murder of Mary Magdalene in relation to the traditional Christian story, I found this DVD far more of a Jungian kind of treatise than a religious one. If anything, it’s a testament to the power of synchronicity.
Synchronicity is a term coined by the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung to point to the idea of meaningful coincidence. From the perspective of synchronicity, nothing really happens by chance. In fact, the idea of chance, itself, is just a human construct. From watching this film it seems that Dan Green perceived an ongoing set of synchronicities during its research and production phases.
The DVD’s special features section includes a refreshing and helpful interview of Green by the film’s director, Philip Gardiner.
This interview not only summarizes the main points of the film but gives some biographical information about Green. It also reveals how Green’s eyes light up whenever he speaks about the synchronicities encountered during the film’s production. And having one’s eyes sparkle with excitement is something very hard to fake.
What did go through my mind, however, was a question. Not the central question posed by this film – was Mary Magdalene murdered? – but another, important question regarding the interpretation of synchronistic events.
Again, I have little doubt that Green believes he encountered genuine synchronicities. But I do wonder if Green’s interpretation of those inner-outer experiences is more about his own personal journey rather than a universal truth concerning the unwritten history of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
I don’t know the answer, of course. But the question did arise.
On the cinematography side, viewers should delight at the archaic cathedral at Lincoln, England, along with other sacred treasures so very well presented in this film.
The Murder of Mary Magdalene: Genocide of the Holy Bloodline was the perfect antidote to the mid-February grind of Canadian winter. And I suggest that viewers sit back, enjoy and let this highly imaginative work take them away.
Whether or not one agrees with its conclusions, chances are the only believers who’ll get angry about this film are those who aren’t really comfortable with their beliefs in the first place.