This week’s MATM column comes from Paul Francis Matthew Zahl:

In January, Criterion/Eclipse released its long-awaited collection of Roberto Rossellini’s French/Italian tv movies from the early 70s. We just saw the “Blaise Pascal”. I cannot recommend this one highly enough — it’s easy to Net-Flix.

The humility and utter Christian power of the portrayal of Pascal, with Rossellini’s camera that never ever comments but lets the viewer interpret and feel the material, is moving. I think the final long scene, shot in one long take from one spot that is never interrupted, conveys the definition of Christian humility.

As usual with Rossellini, he leaves you on such a transcendent tragic (supernal) moment that it is almost unbearable. This “Pascal” is the opposite of glitz, and conveys what the Jansenists were about. In fact, I bet it is the only movie on Jansenism ever done that we could ever see. The actor, too, who portrays Pascal, is the image of what the saint actually looked like.

This is consummate.

The last two things that Rossellini did were a 12 hour television version of “Acts of the Apostles”, which is supposed to be very fine; and his odd and very zoom-lensish life of Christ entitled “The Messiah”. He died right after finishing the last, and no one knew whether to bury him as an Italian Red or as a devout Catholic. So they buried him in two different services…