• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


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    Monday, June 18, 2007

    Back from Acts of the Apostles

    I got back at 1:00am this morning from yesterday's screening of Roberto Rossellini's Atti Degli Apostoli (Acts of the Apostles), which ran from 4:00 to 9:35 last night in London's National Film Theatre. There was a fairly good crowd, perhaps 30 or so of us in total. We watched the equivalent of 4 episodes, and then had a half hour break, watched four more, had another break, and then watched the final two episodes. (I should note that this seems to have been released both in 10 half hour episodes and in 5 hour long episodes. We were watching the 10 episode version, although the film stock had been spliced to join the episodes in pairs.

    I'm going to post my proper reflections over the next week or two probably starting by looking at the scenes in the same chunks the film was presented in, and end it with a review.

    A couple of initial reflections for now. Firstly, I was surprised that the film was in colour, hence the colour picture above. I'd assumed that it would be in black and white, (no doubt because the majority of pictures I'd seen from this film, as well as the majority of the Rossellini films which I've seen, are black and white). Whilst I did find the above image a while ago, I'd just put it down to someone colouring it in (as they have done with my special edition cover for The Hustler, or for the entirety of Pasolini's Gospel according to St. Matthew - story here).

    Secondly, I was also disappointed to find out that it was dubbed. I hate dubbed films, it tends to totally ruin them, and is a level of detachment from the original version that seems to go too far. Whilst this was no exception, I'm guessing that there simply is no English subtitled print of the film. Certainly the BFI rep apologised for the condition of the print before we started, and assured us it was the best one available. I'll settle for that in the circumstances, but I do long for a cleaned up, subtitled version of the DVD some day. I have just discovered an Italian (only) VHS of this film is available.

    Finally, the title cards called this a special catechical version of the film, which may explain why it was shorter than some versions. Both Guarner's account of this film, and a conversation I overheard suggested a longer version is available. I'm not entirely convinced. Not a great deal was left out - at least not that would account for this. I guess the designation as "catechical" suggests it was used in religious education and the like.

    One further thing to add. I also got to visit the Sacred exhibition at the British Library where I pop by occasionally on my trips to London. I plan to write on this at some later point as well.

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    • At 10:32 am, June 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      According to Tag Gallagher there was no original soundtrack for Atti Degli Apostili. The actors spoke in their own languages. So the American version is just as valid as the Italian edition. All versions are therefore "dubbed".
      ps, The Hustler is one of my favourite films.


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