Martin Scorsese Unveils New Jesus Film: “I Responded to the Pope’s Appeal to Artists”

Martin Scorsese Unveils New Jesus Film: “I Responded to the Pope’s Appeal to Artists”
May 2023

The director revealed what his next film will be during a conference organized by a religious magazine in Rome.

Martin Scorsese is turning his attention to a new movie about Jesus, the director said during a visit to Italy after bringing his Killers of the Flower Moon to the Cannes Film Festival.

"I responded to the Pope's appeal to artists the only way I know how: by imagining and writing a screenplay for a film about Jesus," Scorsese told Antonio Spadaro, editorial director of the Jesuit magazine La Civilta Cattolica (The Catholic Civilization). "And I'm about to start making it."

In terms of existing films, Scorsese spoke of his admiration for the immediacy of Jesus in Pier Paolo Pasolini's The Gospel According to St. Matthew, his experience with and the meaning of his The Last Temptation of Christ, as well as how the making of Silence represented the next step in his research on Jesus. In the final moments of the interview, Scorsese became increasingly personal: he talked about his experience with grace and mercy, and about the presence of violence in his life as well as in his films.

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The conversation between the American filmmaker and the director of Civilta Cattolica was the focal moment on the last day of a conference held May 25-27 at Villa Malta in Rome under the theme "The Global Aesthetics of the Catholic Imagination." The gathering was organized by the Jesuit magazine in collaboration with Georgetown University. It assembled more than 40 poets, storytellers, screenwriters and filmmakers from around the world who either identify as Catholic or feel that Catholicism has been a formative aspect of their artistic development.

On Tuesday, Scorsese is hosting the "Carta Bianca" event at Casa del Cinema (House of Cinema) in Rome, presenting a special selection he curated by pairing his own movies with classics that inspired him. The exhibition, held in collaboration with the Bologna Film Library, runs until June 4. Tuesday's event starts at 9 p.m. at the Ettore Scola Theater, a large open-air arena in Rome's Villa Borghese park. Admission is free, subject to availability. The event will feature a screening of Mean Streets, one of the filmmaker's signature masterpieces.