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Abraham

God commands Abraham to take his son, Isaac, to the sacred mountain and sacrifice him there. Abraham tells Sarah of God’s demand. She packs Isaac’s clothes into a small bag for the journey while Abraham selects his killing knife. Abraham drives Isaac to the mountain while Sarah waits at home. Father and son spend the night in a motel. The next morning Abraham drives his son to the mountain. When they arrive Isaac asks his father “where is the lamb for the sacrifice?” Abraham tells him God will provide it. Abraham walks his son to the top of the mountain and binds his hands. He prostrates the youth, obedient to God, raises his knife, set to run the deep cut. But, as in the original version Abraham isn’t compelled to complete the sacrifice. But, unlike the original, he’s left alone on the mountain, devastated by what he’s done, while Isaac runs away.

Film notes

The story of God's test of Abraham is one of the most vital and important world stories. It forms the foundation for the three great monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. And, as such, and for better or worse, this is a story woven into the collective fabric of the world. In dislocating this story from its original setting and time, I hoped to shine a new light on it. What if God asked someone to sacrifice their child today? I find the ideas contained in the story of Abraham difficult to reconcile myself with.

It was Kierkegaard's book 'Fear and Trembling', which cemented the idea of retelling this story Abraham. Doing so in the ‘here and now’ might seem a little odd at first, but I'm not the first person to do so. Bob Dylan's iconic song 'Highway 61' is steeped in the story of Abraham in the ‘here and now’.

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Copyright

Copyright © 2010 The University of Melbourne's VCA

Previous screenings

2012
Portugal Underground Film Festival | 2012
8 Jun – 16 Jun | Portugal

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Information on this profile is provided by the film owners and/or compiled from available sources | Profile updated 8 Oct 2011