A collection of reviews of films from off the beaten path; a travel guide for those who love the cinematic world and want more than the mainstream releases.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
The Gospel According to St Matthew (1964)
The most haunting version of the life of Jesus was made by a man who was all of the things the church hated gay, communist and I think an atheist.
How could this be?
Then again why shouldn't it be?
Pier Paolo Passolini's Gospel is the most human, most real and most mesmerizing version of the story. Filmed in simple black and white, the stark images seem more like news footage then drama with the effect being that it seems as if life is unfolding before us. Yes the film is not 100 percent historically accurate, it is instead emotionally accurate which is more important. Its is not distant and reverent with Jesus a cypher. There is no awe and sense of a "greater" person who never smiles, who never does anything but speak in flowery language. He is what he probably was, just some guy with his friends. There are no huge crowd scenes, no throngs of tens of thousands, its what you would find in any small town and village. It's refreshing and its real.
I have seen I don't know how many versions of the life of Jesus. Some have been brutal, some musical, none have haunted me like this one.(Okay perhaps the smiling Christ of DeMille's King of Kings has stayed with me as long).
On this Easter Sunday, when the world is suppose to renew itself, just take my word and make an effort to see this film. Whether believer or nonbeliever, I think the story will move you, and for the first time you'll get a sense of why we still talk about it after 20 centuries.
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