The Gospel According to St. Matthew

Enrique Irazoqui on set in The Gospel according to St Matthew

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 9 August SS Firmus and Rusticus Today in the Christian calendar is the feast day of Saints Firmus and Rusticus. They were two gentlemen of Verona who were martyred by the Emperor Maximian for refusing to bow down to, or sacrifice to, pagan idols. Their refusal won them torture, beatings with clubs and finally decapitation. That’s the official story, though no one is really sure who the men were, what they did, or even where they came from. It has been suggested they were African martyrs whose relics were transported to Verona post mortem. Or that they were men from Bergamo … Read more

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom

One of many torture scenes from Salo, 120 Days of Sodom

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 27 November James Pratt and John Smith executed for sodomy, 1835 On this day in 1835, the last two men to be publicly executed for buggery in England were hanged outside Newgate Prison in London, where a fairly large crowd had gathered. James Pratt, aged 30, and John Smith, aged 40, had been discovered in flagrante in the room of another man, William Bonill, by Bonill’s landlord, who had become suspicious about the string of men who would visit him. By climbing into the loft of the next door building, the landlord had been able to catch sight of what Pratt … Read more

Arabian Nights

Pasolini's Arabian Nights

Pier Paolo Pasolini’s beautiful, erotically charged Arabian Nights took Cannes by storm in 1974 but all these years later it’s an almost forgotten film and the director seems to have fallen even further out of favour than fellow Italians Visconti, Fellini or Antonioni. Perhaps he’s gone so far out of fashion that he’s about to come back in via the back door. The film is definitely worth a look, being the third and best in his Trilogy of Life series. More completely than Canterbury Tales and The Decameron, Arabian Nights showcases Pasolini’s eye for unconventional beauty – both male and female. To get a taste of Islamic authenticity, Pasolini shot his handful of the … Read more