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The Gospel According to St. Matthew [Import]

Enrique Irazoqui , Margherita Caruso , Pier Paolo Pasolini    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 48.03
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The Gospel According to St. Matthew [Import] + The Gospel Of  John (Sous-titres français) + The Passion of the Christ
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Most helpful customer reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Lord works in mysterious ways July 11 2006
By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
One hardly knows where to begin when discussing The Gospel According to Saint Matthew. Aside from the religious aspects of the film, you have to talk about Pasolini's techniques and motivations. While I didn't like certain aspects of the film, I certainly can't deny the fact that, as a Christian, this film moved me in a very powerful way. What makes this so amazing is the fact that Pasolini is both a Marxist and an atheist (basically the anti-me). I would go so far as to speculate that The Gospel According to Saint Matthew is both Marxist and anti-Catholic in terms of Pasolini's motives. The Jesus in this film is definitely the poor man's Jesus who would seem to represent the Italian peasantry which Pasolini held in such high regard.

I can't say I'm in love with Pasolini's filmmaking technique. The opening scenes of the film play like a silent film, with words few and far between. Pasolini tells most of the early story through the faces of his characters (and I should mention that he depended heavily on regular people rather than actors in the cast - his mother, for example, plays Mary). Pasolini is absolutely in love with pans and close-ups. On occasion, the camera starts moving one way, then suddenly zigs and zooms in an entirely different direction - this, to me, is sloppy technique; either the cameraman started going the wrong way or else he decided on the spur of the moment to capture something entirely different than what was planned. Once Jesus begins his ministry, the dialogue takes hold of the story, but the cinematography is always a prominent part of the presentation. All of the panning yields blurred background images, for example.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pasolini's first masterpiece Nov. 29 2003
This is one of the most astonishing films I have seen: probing, complex, lyrical, and at times emotionally overwhelming. NOTE: Do not blame WaterBearer for the poor-quality DVD; the Pasolini Foundation, which controls the film, provided the print and also vetoed chapters to encourage viewers to watch it only in its entirety. The overly edge-enhanced image is improved by turning your TV's sharpness setting to its 'blurriest.'
Can you imagine a less likely candidate to make what, after 40 years, may still be the greatest and most moving film about Jesus Christ? Pasolini was not only a gay Marxist but a devout atheist. His fascination with Jesus may have connected with his most personal theme, that of the outsider (with his artistic, political and sexual nature, he saw himself as the consummate outsider). Although one of Italy's leading intellectuals, he also moved among the laborers, indigents, and hustlers (some of whom were his lovers, not to mention the inspiration for his early poetry and novels), whose counterparts two millennia earlier had walked with Jesus.
Jesus's story also let Pasolini explore the complexities of real-world politics even while recreating an ancient culture with astonishing immediacy. He also relished the opportunity to play with a vast, and eclectic, artistic tradition, from Jean-Luc Godard's striking documentary style in "the two trials of Christ.... to painting... Piero della Francesca (in the Pharisees' clothes), Byzantine art, Christ's face like a Rouault, etc."
We also see El Greco not only in some compositions but in the intriguing casting of Enrique Irazoqui, a Catalan economics student, as Jesus. Pasolini had also considered such young, subversive literary lions as Jack Kerouac and Yevgeny Yevtushenko.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great film, poor DVD Aug. 4 2003
By A Customer
Pasolini's "The Gospel According to St. Matthew" is one of the great Italian director's most accessable films. It is also one of the few films about the life of Christ that looks and feels as if it was filmed during the time that Christ lived - this is no Hollywood production - this feels like the real thing (the one star is not for this 5 star film.)
However I want to warn potential purchasers that this Water Bearer version is a high priced non-anamorphic, poor quality print (although it claims to be digitally remastered), it has burned in subtitles with no chapter stops. I had thought DVD production and quality had improved greatly in the last couple of years, this is an unfortunate (1 star) exception. If you want to see another great Pasolini film with a great anamorphic almost pristine transfer I would direct you to MGM's version of his "The Decameron".
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5.0 out of 5 stars a literal, riveting telling March 1 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Filmed in Southern Italy in rocky hillside villages and along the coast, Pasolini's "Gospel" has the feel of a silent film, with its long close-ups of its cast of non-professional actors, which include Susanna Pasolini, the filmmaker's mother, and how the camera loves these rough, beautiful and distinctive faces...it is like a moving tapestry of Renaissance paintings, and a visual artist's dream film.
Enrique Irazoqui's Jesus, with his lofty forehead, thick eyebrows that meet over his nose, and coal black eyes, is stern and compelling, and recites the Gospel with strength and mettle.
Released forty years ago, the quality of this black and white film is gritty, which adds to the harsh depiction of the life and the landscape. Though much less ambitious, it reminds me a little of Tarkovsky's "Andrei Rublev", and it has the same pacing (especially in the first hour) and gravity. The soundtrack also shows signs of age, and includes Bach, Mozart, Prokofiev, Webern, some American spirituals ("Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" during the Manger scene), Kol Nidrei during the Last Supper scene, and Missa Luba. There is also a biting wind, whooshing and whistling though much of the film.
The tape that I own is dubbed, and this is the only instance where I don't find dubbing intrusive. Since the dialogue is literal and familiar, and many scenes are purely visual, the dubbing frees one to just take in this marvelous interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel, which is sometimes simple and sometimes quite savage (the Massacre of the Innocents is chaotic); a must see for anyone interested in Christianity, and students of film and the graphic arts.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 14 days ago by Anne Marie Brown
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit artificial
I had seen the movie a long time ago and it seems to me that I enjoyed it better the first time. It is a good artistic presentation.
Published 4 months ago by Joseph Emile April
2.0 out of 5 stars unbelievably boring
I think it is great that the kept to the biblical account in most places, but it was done in the most boring way possible. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Richard Hewko
5.0 out of 5 stars An atheist's view of God
There have been several excellent reviews on this DVD that rightly praise the authenticity, simplicity, and spiritual qualities of Pasolini's masterpiece . Read more
Published on June 28 2011 by David M. Goldberg
4.0 out of 5 stars The truest interpretation of the gospel
Who would have thought that an unbelieving homosexual Marxist would have made perhaps the best interpretation of Jesus Christ in the history of the cinema? Read more
Published on July 5 2007 by Rob Larmer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie with a mocking Waterberer Logo and front picture
It is a great movie.
I think the cover of the DVD should be relevant to the film.
the same movie in Europe has Jesus's picture with a cross !!!! Read more
Published on April 1 2004 by Edison Hanna
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Movie Experience - But Revert Back To Subtitles!
Pasolini's THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW is by far his best ever work and probably the greatest movie on the life of Jesus ever made. Read more
Published on Feb. 26 2004 by Jonny T
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film, poor transfer
Surprise, surprise. Waterbearer has produced yet another poor quality Pasolini DVD. While this disc admittedly isn't as bad as their release of, say, Porcile, it's nowhere near... Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2004 by Scott Richardson
3.0 out of 5 stars Review for class!
The film on a whole is authenitic because it doesn't try to glamorize the action or put a typical "Hollywood" twist on things. Read more
Published on Nov. 12 2003 by "classreview"
3.0 out of 5 stars Problematic transfer
Pasolini's naturalistic adaptation of "Matthew" may be the best ever made on the life of Jesus. Read more
Published on Sept. 22 2003 by Timothy Hulsey
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