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The Apocalyptic is the Mother of All Christian Theology

Jim Finn

2023 01:03:52 United StatesEnglishColorStereo4:3HD video


A psychedelic portrait of the founding theorist of Christianity.

The story of Paul the Apostle’s life, ideology and influence is told by piecing together 20th Century 16mm and cassette propaganda, board games, animation, reenactments, Roman Empire doom metal and covers of Catholic liturgical music. The gentle Paul themes with flute, acoustic guitar and mellotron contrasts with the Demonic Roman Empire themes of electric guitar, drums and synth. Performance artist Linda Mary Montano and Usama Alshaibi portray Paul on his journey.

The film tries to capture the disturbing reaction Paul and his letters had in the early days of Christianity. The use of live action, animation, found footage and original music was a way to recover his biography from the brains of 20th Century humans so that in some perhaps misguided Utopian impulse, we can build something new out of it for the future.

"Holy reconstructions of the sons of God, Jim Finn! Our favorite political atomizer gets holy in his new documentary crusade and decides to tell the story of Paul, the apostle who, the cheap internet would say, was “the most ardent propagandist of Christianism.” Finn, alongside artists Linda Mary Montano and Ulsama Alshaibi, goes all scissorhands using 16mm institutional shorts, board game commercials, cassette tapes, trashy animations and, of course, period performances of not-so-doubtful quality—a rosary of archive footage that evolves in the map of pop culture, its praying and its saints. Psychedelic and ferocious, Finn extracts waste from the 20th century and, Doc Brown-style, uses it to make miracles based on science (that of film) that stare into the future." - Juan Manuel Dominguez, BAFICI

About Jim Finn

"Steeped in the obsolete language of revolutionary art," The New York Times said Jim Finn's films "often play like unearthed artifacts from an alternate universe." His award-winning movies have been called "Utopian comedies" and "trompe l'oeil films". The trilogy of communist features is in the permanent collection of the MoMA, and he has had retrospectives in seven countries. His movies have screened widely at festivals like Sundance, Rotterdam, Sao Paulo, AFI and Edinburgh as well as museums and cinematheques.

He has been making films, videos, revolutionary needlepoint pillows and photographs for over a decade. His first feature film Interkosmos was called "a retro gust of communist utopianism" by the Village Voice and "charming and fantastic, so full of rare atmospheres" by Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin. His second feature La Trinchera Luminosa del Presidente Gonzalo was put on the Village Voice's Top 10 Year in Experimental Film. And Variety called The Juche Idea, his film about a North Korean art residency, "brilliant" and said all three films "upturn notions of documentary and fiction, propaganda thought, reality and restaging, and even what an 'experimental film' actually is."

He is featured in a 2010 Phaidon Press book called Take 100—The Future of Film: 100 New Directors. He was born in St. Louis and teaches at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.