Terence Stamp in Teorema (1968). He seduces a whole family. He’s generous like that.
“I may be an unbeliever, but I am an unbeliever who has a nostalgia for a belief.” – Pasolini
After The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964), considered one of the most spiritual films ever made, controversial Italian director/poet/Catholic-turned-atheist Pasolini made a more bizarrely religious film. Reversing the minimalist, neo-realist approach in The Gospel, Teorema resulted in a strange, atmospheric curio many consider one of his lesser works, so opaque is its content. It depicts a mysterious Christlike stranger as a life-altering catalyst for an entire family, seducing everyone (regardless of gender or social order) and exerting uniquely devastating effects on each member, most of them having misunderstood the new perspective they’ve received. As one blog describes, Pasolini “knew how to push buttons and he detonated a social-religious-cinematic bomb casting of Terence Stamp in such a role.” Even detractors note the mesmerizing displays of expressiveness in the film’s strangely beautiful faces, characteristic of Pasolini’s entire oeuvre. Furthermore, “the idea of the creature that breaks into the deepest corners of our existence has been told countless times with different objectives in mind. In Pasolini’s hands, this story becomes a socio-sexual political fable as profound as it is outrageous – an indictment (even if hopelessly affectionate) of the new upper classes.” Its release “divided believers and atheists as much as critics”. Containing only 923 words, the dreamlike film flows more like a poem, aided by Ennio Morricone’s score, Mozart’s Requiem and the outstanding long-take cinematography of Giuseppe Ruzzolini.