(ANSAmed) – ROMA – ”While we were shooting in Tunisia, one of the things that the local actors repeated the most to me was that they did not believe that there were many affinities between Islam and the Jewish religion. Recognising these similarities would help all of them in these times of fratricidal war”. Director Guido Chiesa is commenting on his movie named “Io sono con te” (I am with you), which was applauded by the audience of Rome Film Festival. A film in which the birth of Jesus and the figure of Mary, a sweet teen mother played with genuine candour by amateur actress Nadia Khlifi, is narrated in the Arab Tunisian dialect spoken by most of the cast.
A choice, together with that of having Herod speak in ancient Greek, that was met by criticism in some Jewish circles and even ”in the slightly snob ones of the festivals”, according to Chiesa’s comments to ANSAmed. They should draw attention instead to the commonality, he stated, not only of ”language, but also cultural and religious” between Hebraism, Islam and Christianity, which share the same Abraham’s root.
”Rather, I would dare say that Islam and Hebraism have much more in common than with Christianity, and that the Torah is closer to the Koran than to the Gospel. Even though the Hebrew society had a greater evolution, as is shown by the degree of democracy of the State of Israel still so hard to achieve for many Arab Countries”. Chiesa added.
Despite being part of the same history, the real ”scandal” of Christianity is represented by the incarnation of the divine in the body of Mary. He emphasised that ”Here it is the human body that becomes sacred. And for the Christian people the female is no longer impure, the female is respected just like the children are. This is the real breaking point of Christianity, and the Hebrew culture carried in itself that seed of freedom and transformation. ‘Love thy neighbour’ is a commandment already present in the Ancient Testament, the prophet Isaiah says it when speaking of God as a mother who will console you. But that text also states that children must be raised with the stick, and the good God is accompanied by the God that demands vengeance”.
But a Madonna that speaks Arab can also drive one to seek meeting points between Islam and Christianity. And not only because Muslims worship the Madonna and see Jesus as a prophet.
Chiesa pointed out that ”Islam must still make major steps forward in the interpretation of the texts and towards reform, as already the Jewish world with Rabbinic schools did”.
In any event it is unlikely that the movie will be screened in Tunisia where, between Matmata and El Kef, it was shot.