In Memory of Melvin Dennis . . .Special Screening of "The Gospel According to St. Matthew"

Flyer with photo from "Gospel According to St. Matthew". Rossana Di Rocco plays the angel 
in Joseph's dream. Click above to see slide show.
In loving memory of the late Melvin Dennis, join us  for a special screening of the film "The Gospel According to St. Matthew" (Pasolini, 1964).

Melvin Dennis ('46 - 2010)

Melvin, an Architect by trade, was Clerk of the Peace Committee and a valued member of the 15th Street Friends Meeting House. To his clerkship he brought a deep concern for social justice, intellectual curiosity, and a generous spirit of service.

Often he noted the influence of American Transcendentalism on Leo Tolstoy, and made approving mention of the author's biography of quaker abolitionist William LLoyd Garrison. Perhaps Melvin's comments led me to pick up Tolstoy's "The Kingdom of God is Within You", easily the most important essay on nonviolence – the one that converted Mahatma Gandhi.

Melvin passed away at age 64 on June 13, 2010, of sepsis from a perforated colon. Weeks before death he asked the Arts Committee to screen "The Gospel According to St. Matthew", a 1964 film by italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini.


"The Gospel According to St. Mathew" is cast entirely with non-professional actors. Jesus is played by a 19 year old student from Spain, Enrique Irazoqui. Pasolini's own mother, Susanna, plays the elderly Mary.

This and other elements define Pasolini's Neorealist approach to the gospel. Neorealism, a movement in cinema that began after World War II, depicts life among poor and working class people, rejecting common practices in the contrived and highly commercialized film industry.


Admission is free, though donations will be gratefully accepted at this event, which begins at 7pm on Tueday, Aurgust 24, 2010 at 15 Rutherford Place in Manhattan. Running time for "The Gospel According to St. Matthew" is 133 minutes. Portraits of Melvin Dennis will be on display during a programmed intermission, along with a special set of still-life photos that he appreciated. See you there!

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