In the early 60s, director Pier Paolo Pasolini took a trip to Palestine. He was hunting for locations for “The Gospel According to St Mathew” (1964). He eventually chose Italy as the backdrop for the story but did make a documentary about this expedition titles “Sopralluoghi in Palestina per il vangelo secondo Matteo”(1965).
Check out some Japanese Pasolini film posters here and his photo in Napoli with Maria Callas here.
Interesting fact, when asked at a press conference in 1966 “Why do you deal with religious themes, you yourself being an unbeliever?”, Pasolini replied: “If you know that I am an unbeliever, then you know me better than I do myself. I may be an unbeliever, but I am an unbeliever who has a nostalgia for a belief.”