In the summer of 1963, Pasolini directed The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964), a film on the life of Christ based on the Gospel of Matthew.After a visit to Palestine, which Pasolini judged unsuitable for filming, the film director chose a series of locations in southern Italy (Matera, Barile, Crotone and other areas of Basilicata, Calabria and Puglia).
The sequence of the baptism of Jesus is one of the few filmed elsewhere. The location identified by Pasolini is in Chia, part of the municipality of Soriano nel Cimino. The Fosso Castello waterfalls, used in the cinematic fiction for this sequence, are located near an ancient building: the Chia Tower.
Later purchased by Pasolini, the tower was used as a filming location for a sequence of Medea (1969). The Gospel According to St. Matthew also includes some suggestive shots of the facade of the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Tuscania. A long sequence of The Hawks and the Sparrows (1966), interpreted by Totò and Ninetto Davoli as two candid friars, was entirely filmed outside the Basilica of San Pietro in Tuscania.
Pasolini later filmed inside the Basilica of Sant'Elia, in Castel Sant’Elia, the episode of The Decameron (1971) in which Andreuccio da Perugia (Ninetto Davoli) plunders the corpse of a bishop with the help of two criminals.
A precious inspirer, rather than just a collaborator of Pasolini, the director Sergio Citti shot two films in Chia. The first one, in 1970, was Ostia: his directorial debut, written together with Pasolini himself, which contains a long flash-back entirely shot on location at the Chia Tower. Seven years later, he filmed by the Fosso di Chia waterfalls an important sequence of Beach House (1977): it is the one in which Gigi (Gigi Proietti), after hitting his head, dreams of a significant compensation while surrounded by beautiful, scantily-dressed women.
Photo: Pier Paolo Pasolini, jury member of the international photography contest organized by Viterbo’s Libera Università della Tuscia. With him, Dacia Maraini and Alberto Moravia (1975).
Angelo Bernardinetti - Collezione privata famiglia Giardinieri
Written by Franco Grattarola