Last Temptation of Christ

The Morning GIF: Jesus sees the light

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Here at the Daily Dot, we swap GIF images with each other every morning. Now we’re looping you in. In the Morning GIF, we feature a popular—or just plain cool—GIF we found on Reddit, Canvas, or elsewhere on the Internet.

Long ago, before we all were born, by which I mean the Eighties, films were shot on … film. An unpredictable medium when compared to pixels, sure, but it did make for some beautiful, and serendipitous, effects of its own. One of the best is today’s Morning GIF.

Martin Scorsese is a driven, talented director who simply does not allow the movie he’s making to spin out of his control.

Except this time.

The Last Temptation of Christ, one of Scorsese’s most controversial films, was a difficult production with an uncertain future and enemies dedicated to ensuring it would never be shown to the public. Depicting a far more sensual, flawed Christ than the Church was comfortable with, it was destined for conflict. If the 1955 book was contentious, the 1988 movie was positively scandalous and was protested accordingly.

Blockbuster video stores refused to carry it. Hated by Christian groups it may have been, but someone, somewhere, (someone important) apparently loved that scene of Jesus on the cross.

According to the director, quoted on IMDb, the moment of Christ’s death was filmed, and all seemed normal. They sent the film to the studio lab to be developed, and that is when they found something miraculous.

While shooting, light had leaked onto the film through a faulty camera, causing it to display a strange series of flashing, colored lights, culminating in a bright white light at the exact moment of death. Former aspiring priest Scorsese, realizing that accidental metaphor can be every bit as powerful as intentional metaphor, used that shot in the final cut, with powerful results.

And, of course, we all know what happened to Blockbuster.

This GIF was uploaded to Tumblr by Steve, a Glaswegian blogger on I’m a complex guy, sweetheart. It’s had 27 notes so far. Film trivia buffs, where are you?