The Gospel According to St. Matthew
(Il vangelo secondo Matteo)
Imported 35mm Print
Enrique Irazoqui, Margherita Caruso, Susanna Pasolini, Marcello Morante,
What was seen in 1964 as a daringly direct, almost reportorial account of the Gospel of St. Matthew, set against the everyday life of the times, today looks like a radically stylized classic. Pasolini employs a cast of nonprofessional actors, and settings of rugged Southern Italian landscapes and hill towns, shot with a mixture of cinema-verité techniques, expressive close-ups, and ingenious set pieces. His Christ (Catalonian economics student Enrique Irazoqui) is an anguished and determined revolutionary, setting children against their parents as he has turned against his, a peripatetic preacher against the afflictions of social injustice. (He has an artist’s ego: “Only in his own country, a prophet goes unhonored.”) His miracles are as matter-of-fact as Pasolini’s pageantry is gritty. The faces Pasolini has chosen are those of the rural proletariat, but they evoke parallels with Italian religious art; similarly, the music is a mixture of Black spirituals, the Missa Luba, and Bach.