Pier Paolo Pasolini: Why Do We Live as if Christ Did Not Exist?

The basic question for any great artist when it comes to the subject of Christ is the one that remains unanswered: why do we live as if he never existed. Pier Paolo Pasolini faced the same question when in 1964 he turned to the film adaptation of the Gospel of Matthew.

By Balthazar Malevolent

Pier Paolo Pasolini: Why Do We Live as if Christ Did Not Exist?

The basic question for any great artist when it comes to the subject of Christ is the one that remains unanswered: why do we live as if he never existed. Pier Paolo Pasolini faced the same question when in 1964 he turned to the film adaptation of the Gospel of Matthew.

In 1962, he made a short film that was included in RoGoPaG. His short story was called La Ricotta. It was about an extra actor who played a character on Golgotha in the gospel episode and didn't have time to eat; he was a poor man who did acting a part-time job and was forgotten about. They left him on the cross and he starved to death, at a time when everything has been already filmed and everyone was eating Ricotta cheese he was so much longing for.

It is a well-known fact that Pasolini was a communist, as they write in various reference books, he was an atheist, although if you pick up a book of his interviews, he says: "I am a religious man, but in a different manner from the official religion", referring primarily to Catholicism. He was a homosexual, a rather scandalous figure. Pasolini began making films at a time when his older, neo-realist colleagues have already stopped making neo-realist films, the neo-realism genre was over.

Pasolini made his first film, Accattone, exactly in the manner of neo-realism. Pasolini was a communist, he was a man of left-wing convictions and was absolutely indifferent to the suffering of the simple, poor men, being involved in a ruthless, inhumane modern existence.

Incidentally, the neo-realist filmmakers awakened this feeling, you have to give them credit for that. Obviously, they also awakened this feeling in Pasolini himself, as he started out with an équivoque towards this direction.

In his movies, there was definitely a clear connection with the paintings of Masaccio, Giotto, that early Renaissance, which had a particular medieval ascetic, spiritual feel, sensuality.

Tarkovsky once said: "I think cinema is a mystical thing, a projection of the director's inner state onto the screen." In this sense, Pasolini's special ontological religious state - in the deepest sense of the word - was somehow projected onto the screen.

Pier Paolo Pasolini on set of La Ricotta
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