I watched two films over the Easter weekend. The first, Pasolini’s Gospel According to St Matthew. I used to be a big fan of Pasolini’s films and I don’t know what reminded me of him again after all these years. It is a beautiful film, and the camera lingers without words on the faces of the ordinary people he used as actors. Then come the words – an angry river of them – because this Christ is an angry one, and he brings a sword and justice to the world along with love. Whether you have faith or none at all, a film like this may give you succour and the strength to go on. Two thousand years ago the rich looked on in judgement and ease while the poor suffered. And do these words not speak to us still, two thousand years on?
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn: for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
So there was a little bit of strength to be found, in that film.
But what are we up against?
The following day with my daughter I watched another film I had not even thought about for some twenty years, Pink Floyd’s The Wall. I know exactly what reminded me of this, a mash-up video on Facebook intercutting Pink’s fascist rally-concert with Trump’s war cry to ‘build the wall’ as protestors are beaten up and turfed out of his rallies. It sickens me, because Pink is fiction and Trump is not, and it all fits so neatly together. I couldn’t show her that clip without showing her the Wall first so she might understand. I remembered also the song We Don’t Need No Education… I’d suggest that all young people watch those scenes, as our schools step closer and closer to being testing factories, from the youngest to the oldest, and all we get as a result of this is our poor, dearest children, being broken by the system. It is breaking them, my friends, it is.
That old 1980s pop film (with its impossibly misogynistic themes, sadly) cuts too close to today’s reality, as the pop fascists beat up the black and white fans, and in Brussels the real fascists arrive to break up a peaceful rally mourning for the dead.
Blessed be the peacemakers, and the merciful, for they are all we have, a thin line between us and the tide of hate which is rising now in the world.