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February 20, 2006

The Utmost Bound of the Everlasting Hills

Not too long ago, I saw a something like a home movie by and about Pasolini called "Sopraluoghi in Palestina per il vangelo secondo Matteo". It basically consists of quite nice black-and-white images of Pasolini wandering around in some areas of Israel looking for good locations for his Jesus movie and complaining that the landscapes are not archaic enough, except maybe the desert, and the bloody locals can't be used as extras, because the Israeli faces are thoroughly modern and the Arab faces are thoroughly animalistic (ipsissima verba!) and both convey no sense of spiritual longing, so there you have it. A guy from the Vatican he dragged along sort of hobbles around all the time and keeps repeating that everything was more splendid here 2000 years ago, before the Arabs came, no, really. And Pasolini keeps saying that all this has been very interesting and illuminating for himself personally, but he can't use most of this darn place in his movie, and most of the landscapes remind him of Italy anyway. Turned out he shot his Jesus movie in Southern Italy, and the movie made a young Italian jurist named Agamben a star. And the rest, as they say, is history.


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