The Gospel according to St. Matthew

The Gospel according to St. Matthew (original title: Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo ) is an Italian film directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini , released in 1964 .


A faithful re – enactment of the Gospel according to St. Matthew , which includes a selection of scenes from the history of the life of Christ , from the Annunciation to the Passion.

Technical sheet

  • Original title: Il Vangelo secondo Matteo
  • French title: L’Évangile selon saint Matthieu
  • Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini
  • Assistant Director: Vincenzo Cerami , Elsa Morante and Maurizio Lucidi
  • Scenario: Pier Paolo Pasolini, from Matthew’s Gospel
  • Photography: Tonino Delli Colli , assisted by Giuseppe Ruzzolini (cameraman)
  • Sound: Mario Del Pozzo
  • Sets: Luigi Scaccianoce assisted by Dante Ferretti
  • Costumes: Danilo Donati
  • Religious Advisor: Don Giovanni Rossi
  • Music: Luis Bacalov , Carlo Rustichelli (uncredited) – Excerpts from works by Bach (St Matthew Passion) , Webern , Mozart , Prokofiev (Alexander Nevsky), Missa Luba (Congolese Mass), Spirituals and songs Russian revolutionaries
  • Editing: Nino Baragli
  • Production Companies: Arco film (Rome), Lux Company (Paris)
  • Producer: Alfredo Bini
  • Mixing: Fausto Ancillai
  • Operator: Gianni Cianfarelli Modica
  • Assistant Operator: Victor Hugo Contini
  • Support to the realization: Elsa Morante , Maurizio Lucidi , Paul AM Schneider
  • Script: Lina D’Amico
  • Makeup: Marcello Ceccarelli
  • Language: Italian
  • Format: 35 mm , black and white , 1 x 1, 85
  • Genre: Historical drama
  • Duration: 137 minutes
  • Release dates:
    •  Italy :(at the 24 th Venice Film Festival );( Milan and Rome )


  • Enrique Irazoqui  (en) : Christ
  • Enrico Maria Salerno : Christ (lining)
  • Margherita Caruso : Young Marie
  • Susanna Pasolini : Elderly Marie
  • Marcello Morante : Joseph
  • Mario Socrates : Jean-Baptiste
  • Settimio Di Porte : Stone
  • Otello Sestili : Judas
  • Ferruccio Nuzzo : Matthew
  • Giacomo Morante : Jean
  • Alfonso Gatto : André
  • Enzo Siciliano : Simon
  • Giorgio Agamben : Philippe
  • Guido Cerretani : Barthélémy
  • Marcello Galdini : Jacques of Zebedee
  • Luigi Barbini : Jacques of Alpheus
  • Elio Spaziani : Thaddeus of Edessa
  • Rosario Migale : Thomas
  • Rodolpho Wilcock : Caiaphas
  • Allesandro Clerici : Pontius Pilate
  • Amerigo Bevilacqua : Herod I
  • Francesco Leonetti : Herod II
  • Franca Cupane : Herodias
  • Paola Tedesco : Salome
  • Eliseo Boschi : Joseph of Arimathea
  • Natalia Ginzburg : Mary of Bethany
  • Rossana Di Rocco : The Angel of the Lord
  • Renato Terra : A Pharisee
  • Ninetto Davoli : A pastor

Around the film

  • This is the first film where Pier Paolo Pasolini uses the zoom-in technique (21 in all the film)
  • The film is dedicated to the “glorious Pope John XXIII “.
  • The original script included 131 scenes, while the film made only 44.
  • The actors are not professional actors.
  • The subtitles in French are from J.-Ch. Vegliante .
  • Pasolini said that he was inspired in this film of the pictorial style of Piero della Francesca , Duccio , Masaccio ; he writes: “I borrowed from Piero della Francesca the costumes to represent the ruling class. […] Christ archaïco a Byzantine character, or baroque Spanish, besides the obvious implication of El Greco 1 ” .
  • All the constituent elements of the Gospel according to St. Matthew are not found in the film and mute elements are added (eg sad look then happy of Mary, when Jesus refutes the organic family for the benefit of the spiritual family). Most of the elements shown are in accordance with the biblical text, but some freedoms have been taken by Pasolini, regarding the reasons for the denunciation of Jesus by Judas and his suicide for example.

Preparation of the film

The film was shot in the Mezzogiorno (southern Italy), still poor and archaic, including:

  • in Basilicata at Barile , Castel Lagopesole (municipality of Avigliano ) and Matera ;
  • in Calabria at Cutro and Le Castella (municipality of Isola di Capo Rizzuto );
  • in Puglia in Ginosa , Gioia del Colle and Massafra .

However, Pasolini had visited in July 1963 in Palestine with Father Don Andrea Carraro , to make trails. The filmmaker is disappointed by the overly apparent modernity of the landscapes and gives up filming there, but the images filmed on the spot become, under the impulse of the producer Alfredo Bini , a documentary halfway between the travel diary and the reflection. interior: ” Spotting in Palestine for the Gospel according to St. Matthew “.

The role of Christ was primarily intended to be played by a poet. Pasolini proposed the role successively to Yevgeny Evtushenko , Allen Ginsberg 2 , Jack Kerouac and Luis Goytisolo , but they all refused. Pasolini later met Enrique Irazoqui  (in) , a young Spanish student (of a Spanish father and Italian mother) 3 , to whom he entrusted the role.

Elsa Morante made a first selection of music to accompany the film.


  • Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival
  • Grand Prize of the Catholic Film Board
  • Cineforum Award
  • Prize of the International Union of Critics
  • Price Nastro d’Argento (Silver Ribbon: Union of Italian Film Journalists)

Notes and references

  1. ↑ Pasolini regole di one The ‘illusione
  2. ↑ Critical DevilDead  [ archive ]
  3. ↑ Enrique Irazoqui has since become an economist and a professor of literature, considered one of the world’s leading specialists in computer chess.

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