(Hristo Shopov as Kedar)
ORIGINAL TITLE: Barabbas (TV).
DIRECTED BY: Roger Young.
MAIN CAST: Billy Zane, Hristo Shopov, Anna Valle, Filippo Nigro, Paolo Seganti, Cristiana Capotondi, Tommaso Ramenghi, Marco Foschi, Franco Castellano, Valentina Carnelutti, Matteo Branciamore and Luca Fiamenghi.
PRODUCED BY: Compagnia Leone Cinematografica S.R.L. and Reelz Channel.
WRITTEN BY: Salvatore Basile, Nicola Lusuardi y Francesco Scardamaglia.
ORIGINAL MUSIC BY: Paolo Vivaldi.
RUNTIME: 200 minutes (2 parts).
COUNTRY: USA - Italy.
Based on the 1951 Nobel Prize winning novel by the Swede Pär Lagerkvist, and translated into more than 30 languages, Barabbas is a film that explores the epic story of the well-known biblical sinner from the New Testament.
Barabbas is in the form of a TV series and we meet this criminal just when the religious texts prove his existence.
In Jerusalem, the living presence of Jesus coincides with the path of the revolutionary Barabbas, a criminal with a life marked by crimes and thefts. He's a tough man, determined, disillusioned, willing to do anything to survive.
In Cana, during a wedding feast where Jesus performs the miracle of water into wine, Barabbas takes the opportunity to do anotherrobbery and, although he is caught stealing, nobody manages to stop him.
Barabbas wastes the spoils in a brothel in Jerusalem, where he met Esther, a young, sweet and pure woman who follows Jesus. The criminal sees in her everything he could not be and tries to ‘buy her’, convinced that he could therefore have her.
Esther follows Jesus along with the crowd, listening the Messiah’s message, and meets Claudia Procles, the Roman governor of Judea’s wife, Pontius Pilate. Thus, united in one faith, an unspoken friendship arises between both women. Claudia is a broken woman, disillusioned, whose marriage has plenty of problems like the lack of children or the spiritual distance between herself and her husband, but in Jesus’ words she finds comfort and the answers to her questions.
Pilate is a man absorbed by the inherent duties of his position, without time for his wife. For him, the presence of Jesus in Jerusalem constitutes a serious threat to Rome and to his own government.
One day, Barabbas is captured by those who could not capture him at Cana, and thrown to the Gheennà, a lifeless place, in flames, where lepers live. Fortunately for the thief, Esther, with Claudia’s help, manages to save his life.
Meanwhile Pilate, knowing Claudia’s admiration for Jesus, does as much as possible to prevent his wife following the Galilean. Barabbas moves away from Esther despite the fact that she had saved him from certain death. Scared of losing the anger that feeds his violence and power, he feels unable to accept and love her.
During a raid against the Roman soldiers, Barabbas meets Kedar (Hristo Shopov), leader of the Zealots. Kedar’s life is also immersed in robberies and crimes, but with a specific purpose: to encourage the Essenes to rebel against the Romans to regain freedom and independence from Rome.
Kedar teaches Barabbas to be more than a common thief and murderer, and convinces him to support his own cause. Kedar, with his skills and advice, slowly becomes his guide, like a father figure for Barabbas, who never met his own.
In an effort to get money, Kedar and Barrabas organise a robbery against Licinius, a Roman nobleman in the neighbourhood. As part of their plan to access the house they have to pretend to be gladiators and fight in the arena.
Meanwhile, Esther finally joins Jesus’ followers, living and working to serve him. This causes jealousy in Barabbas, who cannot understand her faith although recognizes –from Kedar’s influence- that people can be freed not only by the power of the sword, but by the word of the Messiah. For the first time, Barabbas shows his feeling to the woman he loves, although he is overwhelmed. Barabbas leaves Esther to carry out the plan designed with Kedar’s gang.
The theft against Licinius is succesful but during it something unexpected happens that deeply affects Barabbas, to the point where it becomes the start of him listening to his conscience.
When Barabbas meets with Esther, he finds out that she is expecting his child. Shaken by the news, he wants to meet Jesus in the hope of finding in him the leader that ultimately leads to war against the Romans. However, the words of Jesus preaching a message of peace appear incomprehensible to Barabbas.
The miracle of Lazarus’ resurrection definitely marks the beginning of the end of Jesus, who is now considered as an imminent danger to be avoided by the Roman powers at all costs.
* NOTE: Barabbas embodies the duality of good and evil in human nature, a moving spectacle full of action that delicately tells the incredible story of how Christianity was able to rise from such humble beginnings to the force that it became.
BARABBAS - Behind the Scenes
BARABBAS - Official Trailer #2
BARABBAS - Official trailer #1