courtesy of hilobrow.com
10. Andrei Rublev (1966)
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky
A brutally expansive biopic about the Russian iconographer divided into nine chapters. Andrei Rublev (Anatoly Solonitsyn) is portrayed not as a silent monk, but a motivated artist working against social ruin,
Written and Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
As an avowed Marxist, homosexual, and atheist, Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini may seem to some a dubious choice to have made one of the most austere, faithful, and simply one of the best films about the life and death of Jesus Christ. But, with The Gospel According to Matthew, from 1964, that’s exactly what the controversial filmmaker, poet, novelist, and theorist did. This gritty and unpolished depiction of the life of Christ contains many of the narrative hallmarks featured in other film versions of the same story: the virgin birth, the early miracles, the apostles, Christ’s persecution and, ultimately, the crucifixion. However, no other cinematic depiction of this well-known chronicle looks, sounds, or feels quite like this one.
Before making this film, Pasolini had directed his first feature, Accattone!, in 1961, followed by Mamma Roma, starring
Gangs Of Wasseypur Part 2 (18)
(Anurag Kashyap, 2012, Ind) Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Zeishan Quadri, Aditya Kumar, Huma Qureshi. 160 mins
It's over five hours long in all, but there's barely a slack moment in this exhilarating Indian epic as it races through generations of smalltown criminal, industrial and political enmity. Yes, it's violent, but like all great crime stories it's also a vibrant tapestry of family life and modern history, closer to Leone, Coppola or Tarantino than Bollywood.
(Park Chan-wook, 2013, Us/UK) Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode. 99 mins
The Oldboy director gives us a sensual, tantalisingly ambiguous thriller, centred on Wasikowska and her shifty smalltown family.
(Nicholas Jarecki, 2012, Us) Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Brit Marling.
This brilliant and entirely unforgiving neorealist Passion play from 1964 – revived now as part of a retrospective for the director Pier Paolo Pasolini – looks as if it has been hacked from some stark rockface. It is made in black and white, and uses non-professionals, including the director's mother, Susanna Pasolini, as the older Mary, mother of Christ. The musical score switches sharply from Bach's St Matthew Passion to classic blues. Enrique Irazoqui's Jesus is eerily, almost disturbingly self-possessed, emerging from the landscape like Bergman's Death in The Seventh Seal. His rhetoric is ceaseless and fluent, and his sermonising is persistently presented as a kind of dreamlike montage of inspired insights and mysterious aperçus, with Pasolini's camera jump-cutting from Jesus's face at different places and times. This really is raw film-making, in a political
David Jenkins in Little White Lies: "Essentially a 'straight' retelling of the life of Christ (who is played with fervent intensity by Enrique Irazoqui), which, on its surface, seldom editorializes or strays towards controversy, the film was fully embraced by the religious community to the extent that a colorized version was made to capitalize on the Bible belt buck. General familiarity of with the text makes this one of Pasolini's most easily approachable films,
In 2009, producer-director Roger Corman was given an Honorary Academy Award. He'd been making movies since the mid-1950s, starting with titles such as Monster From The Ocean Floor right up to modern schlock like Sharktopus.
Obviously, the Oscar wasn't for these contributions to the art of cinema, rather for what Corman achieved away from the camera. Corman's studios provided a crash course in film-making for hundreds of young hopefuls. His films were made fast and cheap, and if he took you under his wing you wouldn't get rich but you'd soon know how to make a movie – one that played to the enthusiastic drive-in and grindhouse circuits. His companies were officially studios, unofficially they were film schools, and the list of graduates is stunning: Jack Nicholson, James Cameron, Peter Fonda, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme, Ron Howard, Robert De Niro and hundreds of others.
Lothaire Bluteau in Jesus of Montreal (1989)
It's perhaps ironic that the best telling of the Easter story is a solidly secular work, but Denys Arcand's modern parable about a troupe of actors attempting to breathe new life into the Gospels (and annoying the church in the process) is a genuine masterpiece. Bluteau is mesmerising as the performer who starts to take Christ's teachings to heart, thereby radicalising those around him and threatening the authorities. Arcand's intelligent script even contrives a real-life resurrection which offers eyesight to the blind and health to the sick. A real cinematic miracle.
Ted Neeley in Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)
Hey kids! Jesus Rocks! Nowadays, this film of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical would doubtless be cast via a trashyTV show entitled How Do You Solve a Problem Like the Messiah? Back in 1973, however,
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