Gospel According to St. Matthew, The (1964)

The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964), written and directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini.

A life of Jesus, closely following the gospel, shot in a simple matter-of-fact style -- including the miracles -- using mostly natural locations and local non-actors.

The costumes suggest a variety of time periods and the music is an eclectic mix: Bach, Mozart, Prokofiev, Odetta ("Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child") and Blind Willie Johnson ("Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground").

It's remarkably reverential for the controversial, non-believing director. No satire, no political agenda. Dedicated to the Pope.

The actor playing Jesus has a big head and tiny body, which is very weird in some shots. Some of the teachings are delivered in a rapid monotone.

Like all Christmas pageants or Shakespeare plays, seeing the story shown again, from a new angle, lets us see it and think about it in fresh ways.

The DVD is poor quality, with English subtitles burned into the image.