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The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)

Il vangelo secondo Matteo (original title)
Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, History | 3 March 1965 (France)
The life of Jesus Christ according to the Gospel of Matthew. Pasolini shows Christ as a Marxist avant-la-lettre and therefore uses half of the text of Matthew.
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Enrique Irazoqui Enrique Irazoqui ... Cristo
Margherita Caruso Margherita Caruso ... Maria (giovane)
Susanna Pasolini Susanna Pasolini ... Maria (vecchia)
Marcello Morante Marcello Morante ... Giuseppe
Mario Socrate Mario Socrate ... Giovanni Battista
Settimio Di Porto Settimio Di Porto ... Pietro
Alfonso Gatto Alfonso Gatto ... Andrea
Luigi Barbini Luigi Barbini ... Giacomo
Giacomo Morante Giacomo Morante ... Giovanni
Giorgio Agamben Giorgio Agamben ... Filippo
Guido Cerretani Guido Cerretani ... Bartolomeo
Rosario Migale Rosario Migale ... Tommaso
Ferruccio Nuzzo Ferruccio Nuzzo ... Matteo
Marcello Galdini Marcello Galdini ... Giacomo figlio di Alfeo
Elio Spaziani Elio Spaziani ... Taddeo
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Storyline

Along a rocky, barren coastline, Jesus begins teaching, primarily using parables. He attracts disciples; he's stern, brusque, and demanding. He comes to bring a sword, not peace, he says. He's in a hurry, moving from place to place near the Sea of Galilee, sometimes attracting a multitude, sometimes being driven away. His parables often take on the powers that be, so he and his teachings come to the attention of the Pharisees, the chief priests, and elders. They conspire to have him arrested, beaten, tried, and crucified, just as he prophesied to his followers. After he dies, he appears to his disciples and gives them final instructions. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Motion Picture which will be seen by the entire world - up to the end of the world!


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

3 March 1965 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Gospel According to St. Matthew See more »

Filming Locations:

Apulia, Italy See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film had no script. See more »

Goofs

When they are taking Christ down from the cross, in the distance you can see a car driving around a corner. See more »

Quotes

Christ: Many are called, but few are chosen.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The 2007 DVD release features a colorized, English-dubbed version with a run time of 91 minutes and an Italian-language black and white version running 136 minutes. See more »

Connections

Version of Behold the Man (1935) See more »

Soundtracks

Gloria
Missa Luba
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User Reviews

Impressive and imperfect
19 December 2003 | by kapaliSee all my reviews

Before I saw Pasolini's "Il Vangelo secondo Matteo" I was uncertain if I even wanted to see it. I was aware that when he made that film the director was influenced by Italian neorealism, a movement which has little appeal for me. At the same time, Pasolini's later films are some of the greatest ever made. Eventually, my love for Pasolini's later works won out and I saw the movie. While "Il Vangelo secondo Matteo" is indebted to neorealism, as in its use of non-professional actors, this does not in the least detract from its quality.

Enrique Irazoqui, who plays Jesus, gives an excellent performance. He brings an intensity and harshness to the role that is very much in accord with the Jesus portrayed in numerous passages of the gospels. Margherita Caruso, who plays Mary as a young women, is an inspired choice. Although she does very little, and I cannot truly commend her for her acting, she has an amazing presence in this film, combining serenity, holiness, and innocence.

Pasolini paces the film well. It never drags, and never passes over subjects or incidents too quickly. The heroic quality of Jesus' life is strongly emphasized, his confrontations with existing religious authorities, his preaching of his message throughout Palestine, his bravery before the Roman authorities, and so on. Through demonstrations of his resolve, composure, and sternness, a real sense of the courage and dynamism of the character of Jesus is produced.

Pasolini's choices of locations could not have been better, and the scenes are staged and filmed skillfully, emphasizing the right emotions at the right times, whether those are feelings of sympathy, courage, or awe. I would not go so far as to say that any of these elements demonstrate brilliance, but they are very well done.

I was impressed with Pasolini's use of the gospels, which provide the bulk of what the character of Jesus actually says. I might note, also, that the harshness of much of the message is left intact. Conservative Christians might find this appealing, in that the director does not sanitize the message. Certainly, the pope enjoyed it. Pasolini received a medal from him. Non-Christians, and more liberal Christians, might find parts of the message to be a little frightening. When some of the harsher elements, especially the religious exclusivism (i.e., only those who believe in Christ have hope) are heard as spoken dialogue, rather than as words printed on a page, their impact is much greater, whether it is more disturbing or more inspiring. The film is a powerful evocation of the life of an important religious figure, and can be enjoyed by both believers and non-believers.

The film does have it's faults, however. The scene in which the "massacre of the innocents" is shown is poorly done. I personally found the depiction of the event to be somewhat comical, which clearly was not Pasolini's intention. The score, which draws on a variety of genres of Christian religious music is, by itself, beautiful. Unfortunately, I felt that it did not complement the film. The juxtaposition of disparate musical traditions with one another, and with the harsh world being visually depicted weakened the effect of both, had either stood on its own. I should say that these are relatively minor complaints. The film as a whole is a moving and impressive work. I do not think that it is as impressive a work as any of Pasolini's "Trilogy of Life" films, but it is a great film nonetheless.


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