Legendary director (and avowed atheist) Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Il vangelo secondo Matteo is one of the great retellings of the story of Christ in a cinematic rendering, filmed at the time by invitation from the Pope himself. The DVD/blu-ray disc release of the film includes Sopralluoghi in Palestina [Scouting in Palestine], Pasolini’s 1965 film on the surveying of filming locations for The Gospel According to Matthew.
As a curiosity, a young Giorgio Agamben takes stage as an actor in the film, placed in the role of one of Christ’s disciples. Agamben is one of Italy’s most important and original contemporary philosophers, author of the internationally acclaimed Homo Sacer philosophical book series that has been continuously published throughout the past three decades, in which notions such as ‘state of exception’ and ‘bare life’ have been developed.
Watching Pasolini’s Scouting in Palestine today might be one of the most subversive cinematic experiences possible, as it plainly reveals how what at a first glance looks like an insignificant small patch of land next to the Jordan river and the Mediterranean sea has been utilized by fundamentalists of all colors to wage religious wars that have been ongoing for long decades.
The role and power of religious scripture has thus been continuously abused by religious fanatics on all possible sides for their petty private interests, even to cover up modern financial interests of international capital in the digital and military industry.
If this is not the best possible argument in favor of Atheism, I don’t know what is.