You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

I Am With You

If someone's going to tinker with the most famous story in the world, they'd better be clear on the hows and whys, but Guido Chiesa's "I Am With You," a reimagining of the life of the Virgin Mary, gives no indication the ideas were fully thought through. Devised to privilege Mary's essential role in forming Jesus' humanity, the script makes pointless, theologically suspect embellishments while claiming a false authenticity by using the distinctly nonbiblical Tunisian Arabic language in conjunction with Ancient Greek. It'll be a miracle if local play survives more than a few weeks.

Cast:
With: Nadia Khlifi, Rabeb Srairi, Mustapha Benstiti, Ahmed Hafiene, Mohamed Idoudi, Fadila Belkebla, Djemel Barek, Carlo Cecchi, Giorgio Colangeli, Fabrizio Gifuni, Denis Lavant, Robinson Stevenin, Jerzy Stuhr, Selma Houimli. (Tunisian Arabic, Ancient Greek dialogue)

If someone’s going to tinker with the most famous story in the world, they’d better be clear on the hows and whys, but Guido Chiesa’s “I Am With You,” a reimagining of the life of the Virgin Mary, gives no indication the ideas were fully thought through. Devised to privilege Mary’s essential role in forming Jesus’ humanity, the script makes pointless, theologically suspect embellishments while claiming a false authenticity by using the distinctly nonbiblical Tunisian Arabic language in conjunction with Ancient Greek. It’ll be a miracle if local play survives more than a few weeks.

Despite the inconceivable, gentle-natured widower Joseph (Mustapha Benstiti) goes through with his marriage to a pregnant Mary (Nadia Khlifi). Somehow, she convinces cousin Elizabeth (Fadila Belkebla) not to circumcise her baby, John, and refuses to have Jesus cut as well — which doesn’t square with Jesus’ later sacrifice, but never mind. After numerous unaccountable story changes, the pic ends at Jesus’ adolescence, though at least Chiesa nicely imagines the insular tribal world and the non-pro Tunisian actors project a pleasing simplicity. Nicola Tesari’s incongruous electric guitar score has the whiff of a 1980s Western.

I Am With You

Italy

Production: A Bolero Film release of a Magda Film, Colorado Film production in collaboration with Rai Cinema. (International sales: Rai Trade, Rome.) Produced by Silvia Innocenzi, Giovanni Saulini, Maurizio Totti. Directed by Guido Chiesa. Screenplay, Nicoletta Micheli, Chiesa, Filippo Kalomenidis, inspired by Maeve Corbo.

Crew: Camera (color), Gherardo Gossi; editor, Luca Gasparini, Alberto Masi; music, Nicola Tescari; production designer, Marta Maffucci; costume designer, Valentina Taviani. Reviewed at Rome Film Festival (competing), Nov. 2, 2010. Running time: 102 MIN.

With: With: Nadia Khlifi, Rabeb Srairi, Mustapha Benstiti, Ahmed Hafiene, Mohamed Idoudi, Fadila Belkebla, Djemel Barek, Carlo Cecchi, Giorgio Colangeli, Fabrizio Gifuni, Denis Lavant, Robinson Stevenin, Jerzy Stuhr, Selma Houimli. (Tunisian Arabic, Ancient Greek dialogue)

More Film

  • 'Angels Wear White' to Open Singapore

    'Angels Wear White' to Open Singapore Film Festival

    If someone’s going to tinker with the most famous story in the world, they’d better be clear on the hows and whys, but Guido Chiesa’s “I Am With You,” a reimagining of the life of the Virgin Mary, gives no indication the ideas were fully thought through. Devised to privilege Mary’s essential role in forming […]

  • Busan: Director Chowdhury Sets 'Rickshaw Girl'

    Busan: Director Chowdhury Sets 'Rickshaw Girl' for March Shoot

    If someone’s going to tinker with the most famous story in the world, they’d better be clear on the hows and whys, but Guido Chiesa’s “I Am With You,” a reimagining of the life of the Virgin Mary, gives no indication the ideas were fully thought through. Devised to privilege Mary’s essential role in forming […]

  • Mipcom; Wings Media Signs 10-Film Deal

    Mipcom: Wings Media Signs 10-Film Deal With Shellhut, Tiny Island

    If someone’s going to tinker with the most famous story in the world, they’d better be clear on the hows and whys, but Guido Chiesa’s “I Am With You,” a reimagining of the life of the Virgin Mary, gives no indication the ideas were fully thought through. Devised to privilege Mary’s essential role in forming […]

  • Jeffrey Katzenberg Hand Imprint Ceremony

    Jeffrey Katzenberg: Harvey Weinstein Is a Monster, But Didn't Act Alone

    If someone’s going to tinker with the most famous story in the world, they’d better be clear on the hows and whys, but Guido Chiesa’s “I Am With You,” a reimagining of the life of the Virgin Mary, gives no indication the ideas were fully thought through. Devised to privilege Mary’s essential role in forming […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content