Jesus Christ Superstar (dir. Norman Jewison, 1973) is a hybrid which, though influenced by Jesus films, also transcends them. Its rock opera format and its focus on Holy Week make it congenial to the adaptation of the Gospels and its characterization of a plausible, non-stereotypical Jesus capable of change sets it apart from the traditional films and aligns it with The Last Temptation of Christ and Jesus of Montreal. It uses its depiction of Jesus as a means not of reverence but of interrogation, asking him questions by placing him in a context full of overtones of the culture of the early 1970s, English-speaking West, attempting to understand him by converting him into a pop-idol, with adoring groupies among whom Jesus struggles, out of context, in an alien culture that ultimately crushes him, crucifies him and leaves him behind.
"Do You Think You're What They Say You Are? Reflections on Jesus Christ Superstar,"
Journal of Religion & Film: Vol. 3
, Article 2.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/jrf/vol3/iss2/2