Thanks to the move and other inconveniences I’ve had the Wednesday double feature on hiatus even longer than the strip. It’ll ta
ke me a little while to get back into the swing of things so I’m going to keep things relatively short.
The first on our agenda is something I’d been curious about for some time as it’s on nearly every critic’s top hundred list of great films I’ve ever seen. Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Gospel According to St Matthew. When I first heard about it what I heard was how Pausolini used mostly amateur performer’s and also because of Pasolini’s politics and atheism it seemed odd for him to make such an overtly religious film. Because of this I expected something in the “Historical Christ” vein… perhaps something like Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazarath.
To my surprise this was a perfectly straight adaptaion or perhaps a better phrase is illustration because if there is one thing that a straight, literal adaptation shows us is that once we get past all of the usual story points, miricles, crucificxion and such the Gospels really doesn’t have much of a plot. Jesus, played with great intensity by Enrique Irazoqui, spends most of the film giving sermons. Some of the ones he gives makes him come off as slightly radical.
Pasolini’s directing has a nice, but somber, lyrical quality to it. He reminds me a bit of Bergman the way the camera lingers on faces and landscape. Quite a bit of it kept reminding me of a medieval mystery play. All good.
Still after watching this I felt a bit of a palate cleanser was in order so what better choice than Monty Python’s irreverence? Unfortunatly I have the obvious choice, Life of Brian virtually memorized a fact that kind of defeats the purpose of this exercise of broadening my film horizons. Therefore I went with the musical adaption Not the Messiah (He’s a Very Naughty Boy) by Eric Idle and John Du Prez a comedic oratorio that servesa musical adaptation of the film as Spamalot did for Holy Grail. It also parodies such pieces as Handal’s Messiah. It’s a hoot throwing in everything they can not just from Brian but just about everything from Python that can fit including any excuse to play “The Lumberjack Song” All in all it’s an enjoyable hoot and Eric Idle’s a much better singer than I thought he was.