European ApocalypseWhat we have here is Jesus Christ Disco Superstar. Jesus comes to earth to take on the mafia, disco style…


Italy, 1980, Luigi Petrini

White Pop Jesus

White Pop Jesus is done with almost no self awareness on the filmmakers’ part. He’s very smarmy and very Italian. He wears a shimmering white cloak and a gold chain and earrings. He doesn’t exactly walk on water, but kind of glides through it like a super-imposed phantom dream.

Sadly, the copy I have was not subtitled. It takes a certain kind of masochist to fetter your attention to an unsubtitled foreign film, but luckily for you, I was dedicated to this holy war of funk.

From what I could gather, the daughter of the police commissioner falls in LOVE with Jesus (yes, sexualization of the lord abound) and together they boogie their way into righteousness. The music was actually quite excellent. Scored by famed composers Franco Bixio and Vince Tempera, both of which are probably best known for Lucio Fulci’s The Psychic aka Seven Notes in Black (1977).

The pop songs are extremely catchy making the film infinitely more watchable. I picked up on a distinct Bollywood vibe. This is perhaps due to the fact that most of the Bollywood movies I cherish are from the disco era but also the madcap shenanigans that make the story almost secondary to the theatrics of the musical numbers.

The problem with watching a foreign movie sans subtitles (aside from the obvious not-knowing-what-the-fuck-is-going-on) is that you feel every single murderous minute. An hour and a half feels like three hours. White Pop Jesus has the short and sweet length of an exploitation movie, and the distraction of musical interludes makes the time pass much easier.

Don’t mistake any of this as a recommendation. I always feel the urge to give a definitive thumb-up or thumb-down when I write about a movie. In some cases, such as this, you just regurgitate the experience and hope you’ve offered enough information for other self flagellating cinephiles to decide whether or not to take this journey with White Pop Jim Jones Jesus themselves. Is it a great movie? Hell no. It’s silly and full of lots of trademark Italian slapstick comedy antics. But it will likely speak to a few of you as it has for me. It’s almost more polyester and disco than a girl can handle… almost.