Martin Scorsese, the acclaimed director known for his cinematic masterpieces, has embarked on a post-Cannes tour of Italy that has taken an unexpected turn.Over the weekend, Scorsese, who has always had a deep-rooted religious inclination, had the privilege of meeting with Pope Francis and made a groundbreaking announcement. He revealed his plans to create a film centered on the life of Jesus.
During a conference titled “The Global Aesthetics of the Catholic Imagination,” organized by Jesuit publication La Civiltà Cattolica and Georgetown University, Scorsese shared his intentions with an eager audience.
According to multiple reports, the director declared, “I have responded to the Pope’s appeal to artists in the only way I know how: by imagining and writing a screenplay for a film about Jesus. And I’m about to start making it.” This revelation hints at the possibility that Scorsese’s next project will delve into the life and teachings of Jesus.
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Prior to attending the conference, Scorsese and his wife Helen Morris were granted a brief private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican. Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civiltà Cattolica, recounted the conversation on the publication’s website, highlighting Scorsese’s alternating discussions on his films, personal anecdotes, and how the Pope’s call “to let us see Jesus” profoundly affected him.
During their conversation, Scorsese referenced his admiration for Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “The Gospel According to St. Matthew,” a film that resonated deeply with him. He also discussed the significance of his own 1988 epic “The Last Temptation of Christ” and the subsequent exploration of Jesus’ figure in his 2016 drama “Silence,” which portrayed the persecution of Jesuit Christians in 17th-century Japan. “Silence” was screened at the Vatican in 2016, solidifying Scorsese’s connection with religious themes in cinema. Pope Francis, being the first Jesuit pope, had initially joined the Jesuit order with aspirations of becoming a missionary in Japan, adding an intriguing personal link to Scorsese’s work.
As news of Scorsese’s new religion-related project spread, inquiries were made to his manager, Rick Yorn. However, Yorn has yet to respond to requests for comment regarding the director’s latest endeavor.
In addition to his meeting with the Pope and the conference, Scorsese’s Italian tour encompasses a series of film screenings, accompanied by works that have influenced his artistic journey. These screenings will take place on Monday at Rome’s Casa del Cinema cinematheque. On Tuesday, Scorsese will conduct a master class for students at Rome’s Centro Sperimentale film school. Lastly, on Friday, he will engage in an onstage conversation as a guest of the Cineteca di Bologna, which oversees the Il Cinema Ritrovato festival dedicated to preserving heritage films.
Martin Scorsese’s decision to embark on a film about Jesus comes as no surprise given his inclination towards religious themes throughout his career. As audiences eagerly await the unveiling of this ambitious project, the renowned director continues to captivate both the film industry and the world with his unique artistic vision.