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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the power and the passion
This was the film that got me into film 40 years ago.I still vividly recall the effect it had on me all those years ago, and I named my firstborn Matthew in tribute. I am a faith-free person however, and had not seen the film since I was 16, until now. It retained all its power and passion, despite being monochrome and subtitled. The music is inspired, the acting always...
Published on 23 April 2007 by J. M. Gardner

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
Disappointed.The film had a good write up about it but I felt it tended to drag. Noticed also that it did not totally conform to scripture though maybe that was not surprising as the director/ writer was not a Christian and had obviously not checked out on all his points. His Jesus was exceedingly solemn to my mind.
Disappointed; it is a 2 disc package and though I...
Published 15 months ago by . Mary

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14 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Christ as anti-establishment icon, 20 Feb 2006
L. Davidson (Belfast, N.Ireland) - See all my reviews
"The Gospel According to St Matthew" is a straightforward account of the first Gospel and I don't see why this black and white film is rated so highly. The cast are amateurs and ,although this does have it's plus side , the acting often seems quite wooden. The running time of just over two hours means that the storyline of the film has a rushed feel to it ,as the viewer is shunted from Galilee to Gethsemane to Calvary like a tourist on a sightseeing bus. There are lots of close ups, panoramic shots and copious scenes of silent,robed men wandering through mountains to a choral soundtrack, in between depictions of the well known events of Jesus's life. "The Gospel..." portrays Jesus as a controversial, anti-establishment ,revolutionary man of the people which, in many ways ,is exactly what He was and this is often ignored in other accounts of His life. To Pasolini, Jesus is an angry Che Guevara figure, put to death by establishment plutocrats and elitists fearful of losing their power and authority. However, in contrast,there is very little of the supernatural and mystical side of Jesus shown in "The Gospel" ; we don't see much of the Transformation or the Ascension for example, so I don't think the viewer gets a fully rounded picture of Christ's life and message in this film. His message about enduring,almost rejoicing ,in suffering and persecution in this life and submission to earthly authorities is played down in Pasolini's film as well. Although "The Gospel..." does have it's qualities,I think that films like "The Passion of the Christ" possess a far greater emotional impact ,while the TV series "Jesus of Nazareth", starring Robert Powell, provides far greater detail about the life and character of Christ.
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13 of 102 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Abysmal, 7 Mar 2012
James the King (...under the stairs) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Gospel According to Matthew [Il vangelo secondo Matteo] (1964) (Masters of Cinema) [Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD] (Blu-ray)
Please note that this is solely a review of the film itself, not the quality of this or any other release of it.

The fact that this is hailed as a "masterpiece" and "one of cinema's greatest achievements" is truly astonishing. Along with Herzorg's "Heart of Glass" and Fellini's "Amacord", Pasolini's "Gospel" is one of the truly abhorrent works of world cinema. I spend my life defending "art-house" cinema against its detractors who claim that it's pretentious and self-indulgent. This is truly one of those films which gives all of world cinema a bad name.

Where to start...? Needless to say, one cannot really lay any blame on the screenplay. Here we have one of the most fascinating, stirring, important, enduring and influential stories of all time, without which we would have no Man with No Name, no Star Wars, no Harry Potter. I can honestly say I've seen pre-school productions of the passion which moved me more than this. In fact, the most astonishing thing about this film is that it manages to make you not care about Jesus' life or death at all.

The acting is staggeringly bad. The guy who plays Jesus looks the part, but he has one facial expression with which to communicate the entire range of Jesus' experience. One facial expression for the whole movie. Seriously, this guy makes Steven Seagal look like Laurence freaking Olivier. In spite of his oak-like demeanour, Pasolini's Christ manages to come off as angry and intolerant, rather than divine. He shouts, he condemns, he dictates. This is hardly surprising, given Pasolini's radially political sensibilities, but did he have to make Jesus look like a jerk just to appease his own malcontented frustrations?

The actors playing the disciples, admittedly, have greater range, though not by much. Typically, their expressions range from confused to bemused. What's worse, they look like a bunch of Italian rent boys; all designer stubble and greasy hair. One of them has more wax in his hair than Elvis, which is fascinating given that the film is set 2000 years ago.

This brings me to one of my biggest problems with this film; the countless anachronisms. Costume design is all over the place - no two people look like they come form the same period or region. The music used ranges from traditional Congolese songs to Negro-spirituals to European Baroque choral music. Many critics lauded this "eclectic" use of costume and music. For me, hearing Odetta singing "Motherless Child" while I'm looking a Jesus clearly in his mother's arms while she wears Byzantine-era clothing is plain stupidity. Frankly, it's also a bit of an insult to the song, which is about black children who were taken from their parents as infants to be slaves. Is Pasolini comparing the plight of the Jews to the plight of early slaves in America? Frankly, based on the evidence so far, that would be giving him way too much credit.

I am also confused as to the presence of a female angel, since none are ever mentioned in the book of Matthew or any other book. This wouldn't bother me per se, were it not for the fact that, this glaring error notwithstanding, Pasolini deliberately stuck to the gospel verbatim, even going as far as to use no dialogue aside from that found in the book of Matthew. For this, the film suffers even more. I hardly think Matthew was worried about the book's validity as a screenplay when he was writing it, so this pious insistence on sticking to his words is absurd, and totally out of keep with the other "stylistic" choices the film makes, namely the rampant anachronisms.

Continuity and sound-dubbing are hilariously bad; one of my favourite moments is a shot of a man playing with his baby. The baby looks annoyed and grumpy, almost on the verge of tears, yet the image is complimented with the classic baby-giggling effect you get in diaper commercials. Better yet, when Jesus is a baby, Mary is played by a girl who can't have been more than 15 years old. When Jesus is an adult - some 30ish years later - Mary is played by Pasolini's mother, who was almost 70 years old at the time. Are we supposed overlook the fact that Mary has bizarrely aged 55 years? If so, why? What is Pasolini's point in using his own mother as the mother of Christ? Surely an atheist, Marxist homosexual would have no desire to compare himself to Christ... Frankly, I don't care enough to think about it.

The camera operator was clearly either drunk or a child. On at least two occasions he pans to an empty space before clumsily fumbling up or down toward the person or thing he was supposed to be filming. One has to wonder, why on earth didn't Pasolini simply do another take? Was he in a hurry? I can only deduce that he was, as the whole film is made in such a slap-dash way, it's as if he simply didn't care what ended up on the screen. And there we are again, not caring. Pasolini has managed to make me completely indifferent to what is supposed to be the most moving story ever told.

Put simply, this film is an abomination. An insult to cinema and an insult to anybody who has two-braincells to run together. Avoid! Avoid! Avoid!
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0 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Gospel with Russian folksongs soundtrack, 18 April 2012
G. Account (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Gospel According to Matthew [Il vangelo secondo Matteo] (1964) (Masters of Cinema) [Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD] (Blu-ray)
Or yes, I do remember - this one is supposed to be THE masterpiece... and yet, in my humble opinion, this is a very bad film, hopeless, full of pathetic clichés and impotent when it comes to directorship. Pasolini begins here, in Bethlehem, and ends in Sodom - the way is not as long as one would think. As for its its soundtrack... it is eclectic - from "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child" to Russian folk-songs - which of course have nothing to do with the Gospel...

The bluray edition is grainy and out of focus - of mere DVD quality. Do not bother.
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0 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How could anyone recommned this film?, 18 Feb 2009
It was a huge disappointment. There are so many other really good films about Jesus' life; has any one tried the Miracle Maker, to name one? Really not worth the and the time; it's not even good or artistic filming. How could anyone recommneded this? No stars from me, but I could not submit this without at least 1.
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