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The Gospel According to St. Matthew

Il Vangelo secondo Matteo

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini

Italy, 1964

Cornerhouse, 7 April 2013

The Gospel According to St. Matthew

This stark realisation of St. Matthew’s Gospel is one of Pasolini’s finest films.

He owes a debt to various Renaissance artists as well, above all perhaps to Piero, but he’s absolutely faithful to the Bible text.  The music – Bach, Negro spirituals, Webern – is well deployed too.  

In Enrique Irazoqui there is a Christ who is charismatic and at times cruelly inhuman: ‘Let the dead bury their dead’  he says, and you know he means it.  He’s a man on a mission.

Her tears cannot save her son but Pasolini’s camera dares to look into Mary’s face.

Thou, O Lord, hast freed us from the fear of death, cried St. Macrina.  Thou hast made the end of life the beginning to us of true life.  At the end, it is a prayer that rings true.

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