Virtual Highway Celebrates Easter with a One-Dollar Promotion - Acclaimed 1964 Pasolini Film “The Gospel According to Matthew” Showcased on Independent Choice

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Following the official launch of its Independent Choice service last month, Virtual Highway celebrates Easter with a special two-month long promotion that allows independent and art film fans to download their first film for only $1, instead of the usual price of $4.99. Among the films available for downloading is the award-winning 1964 Pier Paolo Pasolini oeuvre, "The Gospel According to Matthew".

Ed Folger, creative director of Virtual Highway, says: "The recent release of the highly controversial, box-office success, "The Passion of the Christ", has generated lots of discussion and raised questions about the religious interpretations of the Bible. It is therefore timely and relevant to revisit “The Gospel” which was among the first films to cover the story of Christ in a realistic manner. We are pleased that “The Gospel” has survived the times and remains in good condition even if the sound quality may have been a little affected by age. We want to share this acclaimed film with as many viewers as possible, thus the $1 Easter Special which is available worldwide, without restriction."

“The Gospel”, done in black and white and subtitled in English, was filmed mostly in the district of Basilicata and its capital city of Matera in Italy, the same locations re-visited 40 years later in Gibson’s “Passion”. Film critic Roger Ebert likens “The Gospel” to “The Passion” as a film that “…really seems to deal directly with what happened instead of with all kinds of sentimental eyes, cleaned up, postcard versions of it (the Bible)".

According to Ebert, who gave “The Gospel” a 4-star rating in his March 14, 2004 newspaper column, ( : "Pasolini's is one of the most effective films on a religious theme I have ever seen, perhaps because it was made by a non-believer who did not preach, glorify, underline, sentimentalize or romanticize his famous story, but tried his best to simply record it....To see the film a few weeks after seeing Gibson's is to understand that there is no single version of his story. It acts as a template into which we fit our ideas, and we see it as our lives have prepared us for it. Gibson sees Christ's suffering as the overwhelming fact of his life, and his film contains very little of Christ's teachings. Pasolini thought the teachings were the central story...."

"The Gospel According to Matthew" won the Special Jury Prize at the 1964 Venice Festival.

Virtual Highway is a Canadian start-up launched in March 2004 that offers the first internet view-on-demand and subscription service, showcasing new independent films from around the world, and older, high-quality "classic" (art-house) films. The service, called “Independent Choice”, allows subscribers to download high-quality movies, normally at $4.99 per film, and view them on their computers or home entertainment systems.

There is no charge to Indie artists for showing their films on "Independent Choice." Films are delivered as DVD-quality encoded video on secure private servers, encrypted and protected by DRM, and video watermarks. Users download custom software, designed by ObjectCube, Inc, and register with a username and password, which are required to view the films. The software allows users to download and manage their movie collection.


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