4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
the mystery remains intact,
This review is from: The Gospel According To St. Matthew  [DVD] (DVD)
What I love about this film is the way it combines physical beauty and wonder, in the form of faces and landscapes, with a sense of the mystery of the events described in Matthew's Gospel. Pasolini himself was an atheist but he was obviously drawn to the subject which is certainly a great human drama, possibly the greatest story of all, whether one believes in it or not. It makes for a better film coming from the position of relative detachment that Pasolini occupied, because from a believer it would have been too proselytising. As it is, it radiates a sense of the spiritual without trying to convert us. The mystery of the text, and the difficulty of the scriptures in terms of the awkwardness of some of the things Christ said (in the sense that they are often paradoxical and not easy to understand), are left as they are, while his passion and anger are fairly to the fore. Many of the sequences are unforgettable, first among them being the Crucifixion itself with Mary at the foot of the cross in a transport of grief. The sequence goes on quite a long time, so that its power is remarkably sustained, set against Bach's sublime music. Many of the faces in the film are memorable - a believer would have to see in such a diversity of beauty the work of God, but as with everything else, the director leaves a question mark over this. He just shows it as it is, presented with a sense of artistic conviction that's hard to separate from the spiritual, but we can interpret it as we will.