Mary Magdalene (2018) | fingerstyle guitar
Photo by Leon Wu | Unsplash

Mary Magdalene (2018)

Mary Magdalene is a 2018 film directed by Garth Davis. It stars Rooney Mara, and Joaquin Phoenix. This is one of Johann Johannsson’s final film scores before his sudden death in 2018.

This film dispels the myth (by Pope Gregory in 591) that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute. In 1969 that designation was removed by Pope Paul the VI. In 2016, Pope Francis elevated the status of St. Mary Magdalene to “Apostle to the Apostles”.

This film is partially based on the Gnostic Gospel of Mary Magdalene. These texts portray Mary Magdalene as Jesus’s closest and most beloved disciple — possibly the only one who truly understood his teachings at the time. Although the film uses extracanonical source material, Mary Magdalene is also praised for it’s surprising faithfulness to the Biblical narrative.

The music by the late composer, Johann Johannsson is gorgeous. The film was also supplemented by music from Hildur Gudnadottir (Joker, Chernobyl) who had a close working relationship with Johannsson. Both composers are Icelandic.

[I’m so familiar with their individual work that I know exactly which pieces belong to whom. The melodic sections belong to Johann Johannsson — and the dark, ambient soundscapes belong to Hildur Gudnadottir.]

I thought this revision of Mary Magdalene was beautiful, and it furthers the concept that Jesus of Nazareth was the first feminist. I’m generally fascinated with all things Jesus Christ: the man, the philosophy, the debates, and the tomb archeology. However, you might need to be a conscious Christian to actually enjoy this film. Most of the critic reviews are ambiguously poor: slow-moving, overwritten, lacks momentum, and solemn. I loved the film, but I’m invested as a musician, artist, and Christian.

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How to play Messiah / The Mustard Seed | fingerstyle guitar 

This is a mini medley combining the two main themes of Mary Magdalene; Messiah and The Mustard Seed. The guitar tab is beautifully written across two pages. Enjoy, the guitar tab is available below:

In accordance with the guitar tab, my order of play looks like this: Intro, Messiah 2x, The Mustard Seed 4x, Messiah (return to page 1) 2x.

Mary Magdalene (2018) | fingerstyle guitar

This piece is played in standard tuning.