The Gospel According to St. Matthew

Il vangelo secondo Matteo

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini

The Gospel According to St. Matthew

Il vangelo secondo Matteo

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini

The Gospel According to St. Matthew

Il vangelo secondo Matteo

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini

The Gospel According to St. Matthew

Il vangelo secondo Matteo

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini

The Gospel According to St. Matthew

Il vangelo secondo Matteo

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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A surprise international hit that became a beloved classic of world cinema, Pasolini's starkly beautiful and brutely physical rendering of the Biblical text has exerted an immeasurable influence on such directors as Martin Scorsese and Jean-Luc Godard.

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"A masterpiece of its kind, ascending at times to the serene heights of Bach" (Peter Cowie). Shot in the dusty hills of Calabria with a cast of unknowns, The Gospel According to St. Matthew became a surprise international hit and exerted an immeasurable influence on such directors as Martin Scorsese and Jean-Luc Godard. Pasolini attempted to find a "sacred technique" to render his version of the story of Christ, plunging into its spiritual mysteries with an almost brute physical immediacy. Faithful to the Biblical text on which it is based, the starkly beautiful Gospel nevertheless dwells on key Pasolinian themes: the plight of the oppressed, the struggle between rationalism and spirituality, the sacredness of the outcast. (And, much as Pasolini makes the story of Oedipus his own, he casts his own mother Susanna as the elderly mother of Christ.) Pasolini's flat, frontal images derive from both medieval icons and Renaissance paintings, and the audacious score (which received one of the film's three Oscar nominations) mixes Bach, Mozart and Webern with black spirituals and the Congolese "Missa Luba." "Pasolini's is one of the most effective films on a religious theme I have ever seen, perhaps because it was made by a nonbeliever who did not preach, glorify, underline, sentimentalize or romanticize his famous story, but tried his best to simply record it" (Roger Ebert).