“If Jesus were alive today, he would stand alongside the refugees”

At 10 October, the film shoot for “The New Gospel” ended. At the same time, it culminated in a large political gathering in the Teatro Argentina in Rome, where the protagonists of “The Revolt of Dignity” presented their demands to ecclesiastical and political decision makers (including the vice-mayor of Rome, representatives of the Vatican and the controversial Senator Gregoio De Falco) – a bold attack on unbridled capitalism” (RaiNews).


For over two months, Milo Rau has been shooting an “ultra-current and ultra-political” (La Libre Belgique) Jesus film in Matera in southern Italy, in which he casts “the European Capital of Culture as a site of the revolt for more human dignity” (SRF, Tagesschau). With the film, he and his team are creating “a new artistic mix of fiction, documentation and political activism: Jesus’ twelve apostles are activists and small farmers, ex-prostitutes and refugees who network during the filming” (Deutschlandfunk). If Jesus were alive today, he would stand alongside the refugees” (Le Monde).


Together, on 28 September, they organised a large protest march with over one hundred migrants from various ghettos around Matera and farmers from neighbouring areas who joined the “Rivolta della Dignità” – an updating of the famous “Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem”, the first confrontation between the movement of Jesus and the priestly and secular powers of his time.


At the shooting of the second mass scene (5/6 October), Jesus was finally convicted by the Knights Templar and handed over to the secular authorities. The multiple-award-winning Italian actor Marcello Fonte in the role of Pontius Pilate, however, makes the argument that the responsibility for Jesus’ conviction lies less with the rulers than with the people – played by amateur actors from Matera in historical costumes. Together with the tourists and passersby in the crowded Capital of Culture, they taunted and insulted the black Jesus. Along with the peerless Maia Morgenstern in the role of Mother Mary and the Eritrean cleric Mussie Zerai as Joseph of Arimathea, the mayor of Matera in the role of Simon of Cyrene, above all, provided for media attention.


“Art that so immediately shifts into political action is rare” (Deutschlandfunk). You can support the protagonists of “The Revolt of Dignity” in their battle against migrants’ degrading living conditions in southern Italy by making a dedicated donation for the construction and maintenance of the “Houses of Dignity”. After all: “You can’t lose a battle. You can only not fight one” (Milo Rau on 3sat Kulturzeit).