Close and Beautiful

Created by Ina Zaneva, The Pitch 2014

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This modern retelling of the story of Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ explores the relevant themes of gender issues, racism, love and hope. Mary is an immigrant woman living in North London, who works as a call girl. She lives in a tightly-knit and traditional community from whom she must hide her profession. The only person she feels at ease around is another immigrant woman, Zadie, who owns a furniture shop in her neighborhood. After she is assaulted by the wife of one of her clients Mary’s next door neighbor discovers her secret life and attempts to force her to be with him. Mary fights him off and in an act of vengeance he reveals her secret, accusing her of trying to seduce him. Now Mary’s entire neighborhood turns against her. Tensions escalate one day and Mary finds herself cornered by a mob that seems determined to physically hurt her as punishment for her sinful lifestyle. Just then Zadie appears and calms the mob down. Mary is thrown out of her apartment but Zadie takes her in. In the end Mary decides to leave her life as a prostitute and to stay with Zadie.

Biblical Connection

The story of how Jesus saved Mary Magdalene is one of the most important and beautiful narratives in Western tradition. At its core it is a story about love and compassion, and how people should not be quick to judge others. Everyone sins, and everyone deserves a chance to be forgiven. When one asks for forgiveness from the heart they will receive it. We felt that this story would translate exquisitely into a short film exploring the relevant and troubling issues of racism, intolerance and violence against women. We were inspired to do this film by recent events in gender issues. We believe this is an important story with very strong conflict and many different themes that weave a rich narrative tapestry. Although the Bible does not give us much information about Mary Magdalene we believe she is surely one of the most important female characters in the New Testament and deserves more attention on film. The title of the film refers to our belief that hope, love and forgiveness are always in the human soul and thusly they are both close and beautiful.