Film "The New Gospel" features a black migrant Jesus

Directed by Milo Rau, with Marcello Fonte as Pontius Pilate

04 October, 18:25

    MATERA - Swiss director Milo Rau is currently shooting the film "The New Gospel" in which the Cameroonian activist Yvan Sagnet plays Jesus a black migrant, the first portrayal of its kind.

    Filming is taking place in Matera, a 2019 European Capital of Culture.

    The movie intertwines the gospel account with the modern-day "calvary" of migrants and is part of the "Topoi" project. It includes roles for the mayor of Matera, Raffaello De Ruggieri, as Simon of Cyrene, and Italian actor Marcello Fonte as Pontius Pilate.

    It also stars Romanian actress Maia Morgenstern as Mary, reprising her role in the 2004 Mel Gibson film "The Passion of the Christ", which was also shot in Matera.

    The Eritrean priest Mussie Zerai, who became famous for his work in migrant rescue in the Mediterranean, will play Joseph of Arimathea.

    Rau chose Spanish actor Enrique Irazoqui, who portrayed Jesus 55 years ago in the Pier Paolo Pasolini masterpiece "The Gospel According to St. Matthew", which was also filmed in Matera, to interpret the role of John the Baptist.

    The Swiss director decided to unite theatre and cinema with the dominant realism of a political campaign that reconnects the message of Christ to the situation of African migrants.

    The scene of Jesus's arrest and conviction will be filmed in Piazza San Pietro Caveoso, while the crucifixion will be filmed in the Murgia National Park.

    The final act is scheduled for October 10 at Rome's Teatro Argentina theatre.

    Realism also dominates Jesus's suffering, which will be pushed to the extreme.

    The accusations on the part of Pontius Pilate and the priests of the temple are taken only in part from the Bible and partly recount the current inhuman situation of refugees.

    Thus the reaction of the spectators (tourists, the "European bourgeoisie") becomes a topic for discussion, but also "The Revolt of Dignity", to imagine a struggle that denounces this contemporary slavery.

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