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46th San Francisco International Film Festival at PFA

Sunday, April 20, 2003
1:30 a.m. HE WHO MUST DIE
Jules Dassin France, 1957

(Celui qui doit mourir). This recently restored CinemaScope classic from Jules Dassin (Rififi, Topkapi) is a moral fable loaded with political analogies. In 1921, the good people of a Turkish-occupied village in Crete prepare for the Easter Passion play, led by their priest; but when a group of starving refugees from another village arrives in town, the pious priest becomes a not-in-my-backyard chauvinist, and the struggle between good and evil is revealed to be a social, not a religious, one. Adapted from a Kazantzakis novel, He Who Must Die is in the filmic tradition of Rosi, Buñuel, and Scorsese in depicting the dichotomy between the form and spirit of Christianity.

—Miguel Pendás

• Written by Ben Barzman, Dassin, based on Nikos Kazantzakis's The Greet Passion. Photographed by Gilbert Chain, Jacques Natteau. With Melina Mercouri, Jean Servais, Gert Fröbe, Pierre Vaneck. (127 mins)