27th March: 2.30pm
The Last Temptation Of Christ
Martin Scorsese’s fascinating variation on the religious film is one the director’s most visually and aurally adventurous works.
Adapting Nikos Kazantzakis’ book, a radical reimagining of Biblical scripture that focuses on Christ’s human torment and temptations, Scorsese fuses the vivid colour of Hollywood epics with the gritty street realism of his stable performers such as Harvey Keitel and Victor Argo. The result is a brilliant evolution of the earthy naturalism of Pasolini’s religious films, driven by Scorsese’s faith and genuine passion for the subject.
Scorsese and Paul Schrader’s adaptation of Kazantzakis’ novel proved highly controversial due to the film’s clear departure from the gospels. Most of the vitriol was saved for the film’s suggestion of a physical relationship between Willem Dafoe’s self-doubting, reflective Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Whether heretical or philosophically engaged, this is a film that still demands attention and debate.
And Scorsese’s eye for the perfect collaborator sees Peter Gabriel provide a stunning, world-music-infused soundtrack, while David Bowie puts in a typically idiosyncratic performance as Pontius Pilate. Greeted with suspicion upon its release, this mid-career classic can now cement its place as one of the filmmaker’s top-tier titles.
The film will feature a short, filmed introduction by Sian Barber, Film Studies at Queen’s.
Dir: Martin Scorsese | 1988 | USA/Canada | 2 hrs 42 mins | Cert 18