“The Gospel According to Matthew”

it’s too bad Gorge Lucas is not aliv e becuase the specil effects in this movvie are BAD. The man with lepresy looks like he had makeup on and when Jeesus “walks upon the water” it obviously double exposure and does not look real AT ALL. This is also a very TALKY movie. I do not believe Jeesus was booring. Also, you ccan tell that Peter Pasterini is some kind of Commuist because of the inflamatory things that Jeesus says. In the Bible, fro instance, he throws MONEYCHANGERS out of the temple. I am not a Bibblical scholar and do not know what a moneychanger is, but in this movie Jeesus chases some hard-working merchants away, whidh is DEFINTIELY not in the Bible! Jesus was not a Angry Man! The Crucifiction scene touched me, though. I begna to cry when Mary got upset and so I give this movie 1 out of 4 stars.

lifeofbrian

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Urm…naturally, I kid. But I did recently watch A Futura Memoria, a feature length biography of Pasolini that focuses more on his intellectual evolution than on who he knew or slept with. (It doesn’t even get to his film career until it’s more than halfway over.) The Italian intellectuals in this thing sure are different than our intellectuals–their dumbest one doesn’t sound dumb or phony at all, and even the government minister who was part of the effort to persecute Pasolini throughout his adult life states his reasons for it in really cogent ways. Some of the more famous talking heads include Moravia, Laura Betti (the actress who played Sutherland’s fucked-up wife in 1900 and who wrote a book about Pasolini and the government), and Franco Citti, who starred in Accatone (and who played the bodyguard who doesn’t betray Michael Corleone in The Godfather), along with various writers, politicians, boyfriends, etc., each of whom still seem awed by Pasolini’s genius and contradictions.

Late in his life, disillusioned by what he called the “homologation” of modern life (basically, the homogenization of culture due to rampant consumerism), he split with the Italian student movement, writing a famous essay which took the side of the cops because they represented the last ends of the peasant class while the students represented a new middle-class to be overcome. He became an admirer of Rudi Dutschke, the German student leader whose ideas owed a lot to Gramsci, and the filmmakers interview one of Dutschke’s friends who knew Pasolini well. The guy finally says he wishes he could talk to the kid who killed Pasolini and, bang, suddenly the film crew, along with the German guy, is standing on the spot where the murder occurred talking to the killer, who’d already finished out his sentence. The guy’s quite forthcoming about what happened that night, but the interviewers don’t ask him the one thing I’ve always wondered: Did he know who Pasolini was when he ran him over with his own car?

Great as it is, this doc is actually just a bonus feature for a separate documentary, Sopralluoghi in Palestina, which Pasolini himself made while scouting locations for The Gospel According to Matthew. It sort of foreshadows the homologation line of thought in the sense that Pasolini originally wanted to shoot Matthew in Palestine and Israel, but had to abandon the idea because the land was too built up, too developed and modernized, while the locals who he’d need as extras were too Arabic looking. The doc covers the process of him coming to that conclusion, and it’s really kind of a road picture which follows the path of Pasolini and a Catholic priest who was familiar with the Holy Lands. The priest–a pot-bellied, balding, bespectacled frump on the outside–turned out to be an excellent choice: a man of substance. When Pasolini realizes he has to change his strategy, the priest gives him the best advice in the world, telling him to finish his trip while soaking up the atmosphere of the Holy Land and letting it ferment into something personal that the film would spill out of. Which is exactly what Pasolini did… (He wound up shooting it in Sicily and Morocco.)

Also, I just stumbled across this little encounter, which I had no idea even existed. It’s actually a damn good interview, and Pasolini reads an Italian translation of Canto LXXXI very, very beautifully towards the end, though the translation in the subtitles is for shit. Here’s the original text…

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