Matt Page, the Resource Centre Manger at the Open Heaven Church in Loughborough, U.K., has put together an excellent little survey of films based on the biblical book of Genesis. It covers everything from the first silent film based on the book of Genesis (Joseph vendu par ses frÃ¨res [Joseph Sold by his Brothers], directed by Vincent Lorant-Heilbronn in 1904) to more recent straight-to-video productions.
One film that I was unaware of — and based on Matt’s brief review is well worth a gander — is La GenÃ¨se, directed Cheick Oumar Sissoko (1999; Buy from Amazon.ca: VHS or DVD | Buy from Amazon.com: VHS or DVD). According to Matt, Sissokoâ€™s film tells the story of Abrahamâ€™s family from an African perspective (it is even filmed in the Bambara language of Mali, spoken by only few million worldwide) and as a result it does a great job portraying the nomadic tribal context in which the biblical story of Jacob and Esau is set. Sounds facinating; I have already put a hold on it from our local library and I’ll post my review as soon as I have viewed it.
For an exhaustive listing of films based on the Hebrew Bible, see my The Old Testament on Film pages.