Acts of the Apostles (1969)
"Atti degli apostoli" (original title)

TV Mini-Series  -   -  History
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Title: Acts of the Apostles (1969– )

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Edoardo Torricella ...
 Paolo
Jacques Dumur ...
 Pietro
Renzo Rossi ...
 Zaccaria
Giuseppe Mannajuolo ...
 Filippo (as Beppe Mannaiuolo)
Mohamed Kouka ...
 Giovanni
Bradai ...
 Mattia (as Ridha Bradai)
Missoume ...
Zoviten ...
Hedi Novira ...
 Andrea
Zignani ...
 Stefano (as Houcine Zignani)
Mohamed Ktari ...
 Marco
Bouraoui ...
Moncef Ben Yahia ...
Malo Brass ...
 Aristarco (as Melo Maurizio Brass)
Enrico Osterman ...
 Caifa
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6 April 1969 (Italy)  »

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Acts of the Apostles  »

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Followed by Il messia (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

 
ACTS OF THE APOSTLES {Episodes 1-5} (TV) (Roberto Rossellini, 1969) ***
26 March 2008 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

I had always wanted to check out Rossellini's TV work (which took up most of his later career), if only to make a personal opinion of it – given that it's not a very well regarded period – apart from THE RISE OF LOUIS XIV (1966) – for a film-maker often considered among cinema's greatest.

Unsurprisingly, the ultra low-key approach and use of mostly non-professional actors (the one recognizable face here being "Euro-Cult" favorite Paul Muller) resembles most of all Rossellini's earlier religious film THE FLOWERS OF ST. FRANCIS (1950). From the title itself, one realizes that this 'epic' production tackles events from the Bible that are often overlooked; while the character of St. Peter – a prominent figure here – does feature in the likes of QUO VADIS (1951) and THE ROBE (1953), relatively little has been done with the life of St. Paul: he first appears in the second episode, but gradually assumes the central role throughout. Considering that he was the one to convert my native island of Malta to Christianity, it was nice to be able to get a close look at the man – as imagined by a master film-maker, no less – even if the famous shipwreck itself, which landed him over here (allegedly right into the village I hail from), is only alluded to in the film!

Though the talky and uneventful nature of the nearly six-hour long ACTS OF THE APOSTLES hardly lends itself to excitement and spectacle, Rossellini's eye for naturalistic detail – aided by a wistful ethnic score by Mario Nascimbene, light years removed from his rousing signature theme for THE VIKINGS (1958) – gives one a real sense of the time and the place (the film was actually shot in Tunisia). Besides, it does quite well in delineating the way Christianity was misunderstood first of all by the Jews themselves because it went against their assumption of being God's chosen people (and which led to the adoption of circumcision as a sign of identification) – in that this nascent religion decreed that Jesus had died for the absolution of all sins and not for the benefit of just one nation!

Needless to say, I find myself more responsive as a film buff to Rossellini's innovative early "Neo-Realist" work and the thought-provoking series of films with Ingrid Bergman; that said, I'll be following ACTS OF THE APOSTLES with THE MESSIAH (1975) – the director's last work for the cinema which, in narrative terms, obviously precedes this and is, by all accounts, handled in similarly minimalist fashion…


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