Twisted Reasoning Makes for Scatterbrained Secrets
- Tuesday, June 12, 2007
DVD Release Date: June 5, 2007
Run Time: 87 min.
Director: Jonathan Stack
Narrator: Susan Sarandon
[WARNING: This review includes references to female genitalia which is discussed in terms of symbolism in Secrets of the Code. Parents, please exercise caution with young readers.]
In 2003, The Da Vinci Code was published amid widespread controversy—and angry protests from Christians all around the world. The novel, by author Dan Brown, became the fastest selling adult novel in history and transformed Brown into a billionaire. And although the story that it tells is fiction, religious leaders around the world continue to be outraged by the inscription at the beginning of the book which states that the facts contained therein are “true.”
The Da Vinci Code recounts the story of a murder investigation which led to a series of clues—clues that were supposedly encrypted into a code by Leonardo Da Vinci. When the main characters in the book broke the “code,” they also unearthed a secret that had allegedly been suppressed by religious leaders for thousands of years. The secret? That Jesus Christ had a relationship with, married and impregnated Mary Magdalene, who was also one of his apostles.
In this film, which is based on the book edited by Dan Burstein, narrator Susan Sarandon waxes about the importance of story, then states that Brown’s story is “just a story.” Sarandon then attempts, however, to prove just the opposite. Brown’s story about Mary Magdalene, she insists (along with a host of erudite academics), is actually the “true story” of the New Testament. Brown should therefore be commended—lauded, even—for finally bringing this into the light, and for bringing back “the sacred feminine” to religion once again.
It is this metaphor, the sacred feminine, which dominates the first part of the film. We are escorted into an unnamed forest by author Duncan Caldwell, an American academic. As Caldwell caresses a large rock in the woods, he says, “This is a very erotic experience.” He then points to some indentations in the rock. “This is a vulva,” he says.
Next, Caldwell takes us into some nearby caves, where he again interprets markings on the wall as female genitalia. “We’re within the earth’s vulva,” he says, barely containing the excitement n his voice. “This rock is the membrane between here and the beyond…anyone who doubts this—here’s the proof!”
We then meet a Jewish rabbi who insists that the sexual act is a metaphor for the sacred. “When you’re making love,” he says, “you say, ‘Oh, God.’ You don’t say, ‘Oh, toaster.’ It’s a code for the deepest connection and intimacy.”
“Where do we come from?” asks Sarandon, after this bizarre discourse. She then proceeds to recount some vague religious history, drawing parallels between ancient pagan artwork and Christianity, implying that Christians robbed the pagan traditions of their meaning in order to suppress “the truth.” December 25, for example, was the birthday of the Persian god Methras, before it was usurped and transformed into Jesus’ birthday. Poseidon’s trident became the devil’s pitchfork. And, the pentacle, the symbol of the sacred feminine, became the symbol of witchcraft.
The film proceeds with similar arguments, slowly moving toward the thesis about Mary Magdalene’s pregnancy. The professors all believe that she bore Jesus’ child, after which she supposedly fled to a monastery, where she became a nudist. This “truth,” the film implies, is contained in one of the many hundreds of Gnostic gospels which where hidden and suppressed by religious leaders over the years.
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