Sunday, January 29, 2006
My first Pasolini is a visually stunning and interesting Jesus film that suffers from poor DVD quality. The English dubbing is wretched (the actor reading Jesus' part is as skilled as the narrator of Plan Nine from Outer Space), and there's no way to turn it off and opt for subtitles.
I like the landscapes, the stark black and white, the interesting faces of the Apostles; I dislked the strident show-off Jesus who comes off arrogant and bratty, but that's as much a feature of St. Matthew's gospel as of the performance and direction of this film. Pasolini's soundtrack is curiously effective, moving from Mississippi blues to African chant to classical bits from Bach, but again the sound is uneven and jarring and those awful American voices so out-of-synch with the visuals ruined much of my enjoyment.
As a lefty atheist who likes Jesus movies, I must recommend this only to fans of Italian cinema--the rest of you should watch Gibson's passion or Scorsese's instead.