Review: THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SAINT MATTHEW (1964)

Pier Paolo Pasolini was a homosexual and a Marxist, an atheist and an artistic lightning rod. When he turned his attention to the life of Christ in 1964, many were shocked, especially coming on the heels of his latest short, which had drawn fire for being blasphemous. And yet his film The Gospel According to Saint Matthew is not a rebuke of Christianity or the Church, but rather is a profoundly simple celebration of the radical aspects of Christ’s teachings. Rather than a deconstruction, The Gospel According to Saint Matthew is a reconstruction of Christ, recapturing from the grips of the greedy and the powerful the peasant laborer who would become a prophet and Messiah.

Pasolini is one of my great cinematic gaps. As a fan of extreme cinema I have of course seen Salo, but that’s it – I have no other Pasolini in my eyes. This week I decided that with Christmas on the horizon and a desire to watch something meaningful (with work being as busy as it is I only get out to blockbusters lately), I would give Pasolini’s account of Christ my time. I am beyond glad I did.

Continue reading “Review: THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SAINT MATTHEW (1964)”

The Beatific Running Of Tom Cruise

Acting isn’t about pretending. Bad actors think it is, and they try to fake their way through scenes, throwing up signifiers and tics that represent the emotional state they’re pretending to find. Acting is about truth, and it’s about discovering the truth in yourself and presenting it through a fictionalized lens.

Tom Cruise is a good actor, but I’ve always found it hard to see his truth in some of his most emotional scenes. Cruise is working at bringing that truth, but over the years I’ve come to the simple conclusion that Tom Cruise inhabits a world very different from our own. His truth is not our truth; the things he experiences are not what we experience. And I don’t mean this in some hacky class war way. I mean it in a spiritual way, and I suspect that Tom Cruise is the only guy for whom Scientology has ever worked.

Continue reading “The Beatific Running Of Tom Cruise”

Save Yourself With Service

Another heavy day. They come one after another, not letting us catch our breath. They are huge, cataclysmic. They overwhelm. You look at the scope of the problems hitting us, hour after hour, and it seems like there’s no way to fix it, like there’s no hope. You’re staring at a tsunami wave and simply waiting to be consumed.

That’s how I felt when I woke up this morning and saw a news alert on my phone about the Supreme Court upholding the President’s racist Muslim ban. I had only just opened my eyes and the first thing I learned about the world today is that our system of checks and balances is unbalanced and unchecked. What could I, an unemployed disgraced former film critic, do in the face of such wrongness?

Continue reading “Save Yourself With Service”

The Story Of Gethsemane

I sat at the spot where Jesus Christ begged God to not kill him, and I wept.

Well, probably not at the spot. There’s a lot of archeological uncertainty about whether the places in Jerusalem that we connect to the events of Christ’s life are the actual locations, but over the past few centuries millions of pilgrims have made the journey to visit these spots whether they’re legit or not. The Basilica of the Agony (aka the Church of All Nations) is built on what is said to be the place where Jesus, accompanied by a trio of sleepy apostles, got down on his knees and, said “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by.”

Continue reading “The Story Of Gethsemane”