Story by Karen Weaver
The Jesus Film is a two-hour dramatization of the life of Christ, with the text taken directly from the Gospel of Luke. When the script for the film is recorded in the heart language of the people, it is very powerful.
To record the Jesus Film in the Doromu-Koki language, technician Jinhwan Kim traveled by plane to the capital city, then took a truck over bumpy roads to a rural area. Finally, he and his companions concluded the journey with a three hour hike down steep narrow trails. When they arrived in Kasonomu village, they were rewarded with refreshing coconut milk and sugar cane.
Jinhwan set up his recording equipment in a village house. Although it was a hot lowlands area, he kept the windows closed to block outside noise from the recording.
More than 30 village people participated, speaking lines for the various people in the story of Jesus. Jinhwan was persistent in encouraging them to repeat the reading when necessary so the end product would have natural speech and flow smoothly. Sometimes the speaker would have to talk faster or cut out a few words to make it fit the number of seconds allocated for that scene.
However, saying the words in the specified blocks of time wasn’t enough. Jinhwan also wanted the film to show the feelings and emotion of the New Testament characters. To do this, he instituted a few creative recording techniques.
During the recording of the crowd scene before Jesus’ death, Jinhwan had the people stand outside on the ground while he stood on the balcony of the house above them, where Pilate would have been. He directed the crowds to cry out, “Crucify him!” One of the people in the crowd, Robert, testified, “It sure sounds convincing in the movie!”
When it was time to record the words of the thief on the cross, Jinhwan was not satisfied with a monotone recording. He had the actor, Nicholas, do push-ups, and then more push-ups, in an effort to make him sound like he was struggling for breath. In the end, he recorded the lines while someone sat on Nicholas’s back. It certainly had the effect of communicating that the thief was in pain as he spoke from the cross.
Jinhwan took the audio recording of the voices and dubbed it onto the video. When the people watched the movie and heard Jesus and his disciples speaking in their heart language, adults and children alike sat riveted to the screen. Now they could see and hear Jesus as if they were present with him, with no barriers of time, place, or language.