Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB
Original title: Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo
Italy/France, 1964. Arco Film, Lux Compagnie Cinématographique de France. Screenplay by Pier Paolo Pasolini. Cinematography by Tonino Delli Colli. Produced by Alfredo Bini. Music by Luis Bacalov. Production Design by Luigi Scaccianoce. Costume Design by Danilo Donati. Film Editing by Nino Baragli. Academy Awards 1964. National Board Of Review Awards 1966.
Hands down the best Jesus movie ever made; Pier Paolo Pasolini’s testament to the wonder of Christ’s tale is a startlingly beautiful work. The gorgeous cinematography captures the entire story from the book of Matthew, starting with Jesus’s birth in a Bethlehem stable, through to his days as the wandering prophet of Galilee until his crucifixion and resurrection. Using non-professional actors, all of whom have compelling natural qualities, Pasolini shows us the socialist nature of Christ’s teachings and the direct opposition his dogma has to the way that contemporary religion (and society in general) is run. He also doesn’t add anything to the Biblical tale, instead using the good book’s dialogue and situations without the need for amendment or even poetically licensed interpretation. Who better to make a movie about Jesus Christ than a controversial Marxist filmmaker who has a publicly known penchant for male prostitutes? This is an incredibly powerful, unforgettable experience.