“My reading of the Gospel could only be the reading of a Marxist, but at the same time the fascination of the irrational, of the divine, which dominates the whole Gospel, spread through me. As a Marxist, I cannot explain it and neither can Marxism. Up to a certain limit of conscience, indeed in all conscience, it is a Marxist work: I could not shoot scenes without there being a moment of sincerity, understood as actuality. Indeed, the soldiers of Herod how could I make them? Could I have made them with a moustache, grinding teeth, dressed in rags, like the choirs of the opera? No, I couldn’t make them like that. I dressed them a bit like fascists and imagined them as fascist squads or as fascists who killed Slavic children by throwing them into the air “.
Pier Paolo Pasolini
The Gospel According to Matthew is a unique film for many reasons. It reconstructs the New Testament using an entirely non-professional cast, rough and completely believable settings, and almost documentary black and white photography in the wake of Neorealism, which had great influence on the early stages of Pasolini’s career. Although the director was not a believer, his radical and nonconformist personality was perhaps attracted to the idea of a Christ conceived as an agitator and a revolutionary who demands respect, even as a demagogue. But the real success of this masterpiece is due to Pasolini’s choice to entrust the role of Christ to a young student of Spanish literature, Enrique Irazoqui.
In the miracle of the loaves and fish, when Christ multiplies five loaves and two fish in an inexhaustible quantity for a multitude of people, he asks his followers to cross a canal by boat, telling them that he will join them on the other side. During the transfer, the faithfuls see a distant ghost approaching them on the water. Silence falls, the wind vanishes, the water stops its lapping, while luminous glimmers play on it. And we see Christ perform another miracle. The stark beauty of the long shot on the silhouette of Christ walking on water is revealing. Not only because it is able to rival the digital special effects of any contemporary film, but also because it draws attention to itself within a work whose approach, otherwise, is entirely Neorealistic. It is a sublime moment.
Pasolini here carries out an integral reading of Matthew’s Gospel which he sets among the stones of Matera which allow him, he says, a non-archaeological transposition of the ancient world into the modern world. In the Gospel Pasolini transposes, with bleeding sincerity and a lived sense of the sacred, his own “evil, burning, elusive religious elements”. And it does so on the thread of an early Christian vision that denies any trust in the Church-Institution, recovering instead values that are part of other ideologies, first of all Marxism. His is a religion that wants to speak to the poor of the world, and in it passion and ideology merge: as a filmmaker whose greatness cannot be separated from his ideas.
His poetry is literally a vital and scandalous message. His hermit Christ is a violent preacher of a radical truth, his word, rigorously philological, is embodied in the written language of reality (it is also the title of one of his “heretical essays”). The sacred, in its outdatedness, becomes an active, raw language, but also, in a Pasolinian way, of an original and cultured syncretism of figurations that seeks among real people the original type corresponding to the pictorial model. In other words, Moravians, in Pasolini reality manifests itself as culture. And in the Gospel it produces that narrative “epic in poverty and sumptuous in simplicity” that impresses “.
Genre: drama – hstorical
Enrique Irazoqui: Christ
Margherita Caruso: Mary as a young woman
Susanna Pasolini: Elder Mary
Marcello Morante: Joseph
Mario Socrate: John the Baptist
Settimio Di Porto: Peter
Otello Sestili: Judas Iscariot
Ferruccio Nuzzo: Matthew
Giacomo Morante: John the Apostle
Amerigo Bevilacqua: Herod the Great
Alessandro Tasca: Pontius Pilate
Rosario Migale: Thomas
Rodolfo Wilcock: Caiaphas
Rossana Di Rocco: the angel
Luis Bacalov soundtrack