• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as current film releases with spiritual significance, and a few bits and pieces on the Bible.

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Nathan Schneider on Pasolini's Gospel According to St. Matthew

    Over at his Killing the Buddha blog, Nathan Schneider has written up some interesting thoughts on a recent viewing of Pasolini's Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo (The Gospel According to St. Matthew). Schneider watched the film with a friend - a non-believer brought up in a "pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic community" - and has written up both his own reactions and that of his friend. It's a fascinating contrast.

    As it happens this film has been in my thoughts this week: my Through the Bible in Five and a Half Years course starts the New Testament in September (after a summer recess) and so I'm thinking of showing this to my film night group. Strangely we've never seen it at Film Night, save perhaps a very early gathering of many of the same people who still come 10+ years later.

    One of the things I plan to discuss at the Matthew session of Through the Bible is the way in which our own pre-suppositions can shape how we read the text. Whilst I plan to contrast a passage from Pasolini's film with the same passage from the Visual Bible's 1994 Gospel of Matthew, the contrast between Schneider's take on the film and that of his friend essentially raise the same point.

    I've left a comment on Schneider's blog basically saying that whilst I think my view of Jesus more naturally align with his, the value of the film, to me, is that it confronts me with a portrayal of Jesus which I find uncomfortable, but cannot really shake off using the gospels. It rubs up against my presuppositions about Jesus and in so doing exposes them as simply that - presuppositions.

    Incidentally, I also plan to watch the Visual Bible film over the next couple of months so I'll hopefully be blogging about both films a little bit during that time too.

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