memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

Posts tagged ‘stony place’

The Gospel According To Matthew

 The Gospel According to St. Matthew (Il Vangelo secondo Matteo) is an Italian film directed in 1964 by Pier Paulo Pasolini.

It is a retelling of the story of Jesus Christ, from the Nativity through to the Resurrection.

I remember how struck I was was on first seeing this film about forty or so years ago. At the same time I was seeing such films as François Truffauld’s L’Enfant Sauvage and Werner Herzog’s Aguirre The Wrath of God.

Raised on a diet of Hollywood pap these films opened my eyes to the European Cinema.

The dialogue of the film is mostly taken directly from the Gospel of Matthew, as Pasolini felt that images could never reach the poetic heights of the text.

He reportedly chose Matthew’s Gospel over the others because he had decided that “John was too mystical, Mark too vulgar, and Luke too sentimental.”

Pier Paulo Pasolini was an atheist, homosexual and Marxist.

When commentators evinced surprise that an non-believer like him could make a film with such a religious theme he replied that anyone who thought he was an non-believer knew him better than he did himself.

The film, shot in black and white, is set in a stark bleak desert landscape. Using amateur actors Pasolini stages a series of set speeches from Matthew’s gospel.

STONY DESERT

STONY DESERT

The film is devoid of the customary sanctimonious sentimentality of the genre.

Jesus is a stern Marxist Christ who endures his sufferings with a stoical formality.

The score of the film, consisting mainly of sacred music by J. S. Bach (Mass in B minor and parts of the St. Matthew Passion) and the Gloria from the Congolese Missa Luba is unforgettable and indeed for most of my life since, whenever I have listened to the St. Matthew Passion I have thought of that film.

A serious and profound film, I would suggest it merits another viewing.

A Moment of Truth

I caught a moment of truth

There in that old church,

Sitting remotely gazing

At the old carved gold

Of that quiet place.

 

I tried to pray

For me and mine

And for departed souls,

But my mind broke free,

Lifted and fluttered trapped,

Jerky and sorrowful, under

The fiddling fluted baroque

Of the Renaissance dome.

 

The purple of childhood’s

Dolorous Church

The stations of agony

Of English Gothic

The correct anticipation of

Decorous Easter – the cool,

Delicious costly scent of

Sculptured French chocolate.

 

Out again into the sunlight

On the steps of the old Convent

Church, I pause in that beauty –

The bright Portuguese light

The town below me

And the ocean gleaming over the trees.

Oh! Thank you for the day

29 . 3 . 97

The Gospel According To Matthew

 The Gospel According to St. Matthew (Il Vangelo secondo Matteo) is an Italian film directed in 1964 by Pier Paulo Pasolini.

It is a retelling of the story of Jesus Christ, from the Nativity through to the Resurrection.

I remember how struck I was was on first seeing this film about forty or so years ago. At the same time I was seeing such films as François Truffauld’s L’Enfant Sauvage and Werner Herzog’s Aguirre The Wrath of God.

Raised on a diet of Hollywood pap these films opened my eyes to the European Cinema.

DISCIPLE

DISCIPLE

The dialogue of the is mostly taken directly from the Gospel of Matthew, as Pasolini felt that “images could never reach the poetic heights of the text.

He reportedly chose Matthew’s Gospel over the others because he had decided that “John was too mystical, Mark too vulgar, and Luke too sentimental.”

Pier Paulo Pasolini was an atheist, homosexual and Marxist.

When commentators evinced surprise that an un-believer like him could make a film with such a religious theme he replied that anyone who thought he was an un-believer knew him better than he did himself.

The film, shot in black and white, is set in a stark bleak desert landscape. Using amateur actors Pasolini stages a series of set speeches from Matthew’s gospel.

The film is devoid of the customary sanctimonious sentimentality of the genre.

Jesus is a stern Marxist Christ who endures his sufferings with a stoical formality.

The score of the film, consisting mainly of sacred music by J. S. Bach (Mass in B minor and parts of the St. Matthew Passion) and the Gloria from the Congolese Missa Luba is unforgettable and indeed for most of my life since, whenever I have listened to the St. Matthew Passion I have thought of that film.

A serious and profound film, I would suggest it merits another viewing.

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