Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975) was born exactly one century ago. He was a film director, playwright, writer, poet, painter, politician, Marxist, one of the greatest intellectuals of the 20th century, influential both as an artist and as a political figure, as much praised as he was contested.
He left a legacy of close to 20 feature films and documentaries, more than 30 books, plays and a large number of essays, but his influence on generations of artists was much broader and far-reaching.
Pasolini, just like his works, was controversial. Openly gay and Marxist ‘in his own way’, he strongly criticised petit-bourgeois values, while at the same time challenging numerous sexual taboos. Thanks to his harsh language and criticism, he had no shortage of enemies.
However, the whole world was taken aback when he was brutally murdered in November 1975, allegedly after an argument with a prostitute. Even half a century after his mutilated body was found on the beach at Ostia near Rome, the murder remains unsolved.
The exhibition at the Yugoslav Film Archive (Kinoteka) reminds us of the interesting biography, both private and professional, of the great Pasolini. Marjan Vujović and curator Irina Kondić , say that the exhibition, which will remain open until mid-November, includes monitors with inserts from six representative films (‘Mamma Roma’, ‘The Gospel According to St. Matthew’, ‘Theorem’, ‘The Canterbury Tales’, ‘Arabian Nights’ and ‘Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom’), as well as trailers of Pasolini’s entire oeuvre.
The installation includes large-format photos from the Cineteca Photo Library, an illustration of Pasolini’s character (by Vuk Popadić), plenty of information from his biography and filmography, and short texts about Pasolini’s films.
“When we dream and remember, we make short films in our heads. Film, therefore, has roots – it is rooted in a completely irrational language: from dreams and memories to reality, which are perceived as facts. That is why the image is infinitely more dreamlike than words. In the end, when you watch a film, it seems like a dream,’ Pasolini said.
The son of an Italian military officer, Pasolini studied all over northern Italy where his father was stationed. He attended the University of Bologna, studying art history and literature. Due to the time he spent among the oppressed Friulian peasants during World War II, he later turned to Marxism, although an unorthodox kind.
‘All his life he fought for the traditional, pre-industrial, pre-globalisation farming world, which he considered innocent and honest,’ said his friend, the Italian writer Dacia Maraini.
Pasolini was already known in Italy for his poetry when he started working in cinema. His last film ‘Salò, or the 120 days of Sodom’ was released after his death. His films range from gritty realism to free adaptations full of symbolism, while his novels reveal a fascination for the petty thugs of Rome’s suburbs.
‘To scandalise is a right. To be scandalized is a pleasure,’ said the great Pasolini in his last television interview, given just three days before his death, and he consistently implemented this motto both in life and death.
(Večernje Novosti, 04.10.2022)
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