Blessed are the Filmmakers

Crucifixion set from The Passion, image:
OK, one more post about Mel's mammon from heaven, The Passion:

The Guardian reports on the miracle of Matera: Gibson raised the Italian hilltop town from the economic dead when he chose it as the main location for filming.

And Blessed are The Extras, for they shall obtain EU60-90/day
Not only were 600 of "the swarthiest" locals picked as extras in the film, but the town has been born again as a Christian tourist site. Antonio Foschino documents the local production of The Passion on his website, of Matera, he provides a Passion Package Tour; book early.

At least until high season starts, the town's hotel maid won't charge you a euro to tell about helping Gibson convert the minibar in his suite into a prayer altar. But at the site of the crucifixion scene [above], enterprising craftsmen are already stockpiling hand-carved Matera/Golgotha paperweights, the perfect complement to those Nativity Stone crosses you bought from Ricardo Montalban. [While supplies last. Supplies of rocks in Italy.]

Did Gibson's inspiration for shooting in Matera come from Richard Gere, who made King David there, or from the last Christ movie to be shot in town, Pier Paolo Pasolini's [ who the Guardian gleefully calls "a gay, Communist atheist,"] Gospel According to Matthew? Who knows? But Mel did describe his reaction the town had on him: "The first time I saw it," he said, "I just went crazy, because it was so perfect."

Amen, brother.

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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greg [at] greg [dot ] org

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first published: April 4, 2004.

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