I was looking forward to the group-directed Jesus Loves You–a film about a bunch of fundamentalist Christian missionaries from around the world who converged on Germany to minister to the millions who were there to attend the 2006 World Cup–but it left me with little taste in my mouth, good or bad.
It was shot by four crews–meaning four directors: Lilian Franck, Matthias Luthard, Michaela Kirst, and Robert Cibis–so that each could focus on one particular missionary… Tillman is a charismatic German who started a group called Youth With A Mission. Scott is a young pastor who preaches at the 411 Church in NYC in a bad hairdo. Gershom is a friendly, outgoing Zambian who, despite his young age, is a veteran missionary. Cody, in contrast, is a complete noob at this–freshly baptised in Scott’s church and decidedly awkward when it comes to approaching the strangers to whom he is meant to appeal.
There is a lot of buildup to the missionaries’ arrival in Germany but once they are there, it seems like there is little interaction shown between them and the soccer fans, and the film seems to lose its direction and peter out. The few soccer fans we meet don’t seem to know quite what to make of these earnest folks appealing to them to accept Christ as their saviour. The ending felt abrupt, without resolution. Not sure what the point of it all was, y’know?
→ originally published 2008-04-26