Pier Paolo Pasolini

Marking the 20th anniversary of Pier Paolo Pasolini's brutal murder, this study of the controversial Italian filmmaker, novelist, poet and polemicist is the ideal complement to any showing of his work. A solidly assembled, critical crash course in the principal themes of Pasolini's films and literature, backed by basic biographical info, this hourlong documentary should find a place in upscale TV skeds and educational slots.

Marking the 20th anniversary of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s brutal murder, this study of the controversial Italian filmmaker, novelist, poet and polemicist is the ideal complement to any showing of his work. A solidly assembled, critical crash course in the principal themes of Pasolini’s films and literature, backed by basic biographical info, this hourlong documentary should find a place in upscale TV skeds and educational slots.

Starting with Pasolini’s literary output and gradually shifting its focus to his films as his interest in that field took over, the docu looks at his fascination with death and religion, his deep-seated distrust of the political state, his distance from patriarchal figures and binding ties to maternal ones, and his disinterest in intellectuals and the middle classes, preferring instead to portray stories of the proletariat.

Via archive footage, old photographs and interviews, Pasolini’s early life and education are broadly reconstructed, showing him moving with his beloved mother from his native Friuli to a run-down Rome suburb in the shadows of a prison, and living in a desperate unemployed state for two years before finding work as a teacher.

He was first exposed to film as a script collaborator with Mario Soldati, Mauro Bolognini and Federico Fellini (on “Nights of Cabiria”). Tracing the stylistic and ideological influences of Dreyer and Chaplin, and using a generous selection of film excerpts, the docu examines the arc stretching from the solar intensity of Pasolini’s 1961 debut, “Accattone,” to the dark disillusionment of his final film, “Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom.”

The often contradictory elements of his work, the differences separating his writings from his films, and the influence of certain painters on his visual style are brought into focus. Pertinent sequences from his films are considered in light of his relationship to his mother, to sex and his own homosexuality, and to the Italian political establishment.

The film’s brevity prevents director Ivo Barnabo Micheli, who made an earlier documentary on Pasolini in 1970, and critic Gianni Rondolino, who co-scripted, from going far beyond the surface, and due to rights questions, several key films are represented only by still photos. But the film is nonetheless an extensive, stimulating look at one of the 20th century’s most iconoclastic artists.

Pier Paolo Pasolini

Italian

Production: An Istituto Luce production for Istituto Luce Antologia del Cinema. Directed by Ivo Barnabo Micheli. Screenplay, Barnabo Micheli, Gianni Rondolino.

Crew: Camera (Cinecitta color), Luigi Verga; editor, Giuliano Mattioli; music supervisor, Gabriella Brunamonti; sound, Angelo Raguso. Reviewed at Turin Young Cinema Festival (noncompeting), Nov. 11, 1995. Running time: 60 MIN.

More Film

  • Grasshopper Films Buy 'The Load,' Serbian

    Serbian Trucking Thriller 'The Load' Bought by Grasshopper Films (EXCLUSIVE)

    Marking the 20th anniversary of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s brutal murder, this study of the controversial Italian filmmaker, novelist, poet and polemicist is the ideal complement to any showing of his work. A solidly assembled, critical crash course in the principal themes of Pasolini’s films and literature, backed by basic biographical info, this hourlong documentary should […]

  • Men Outnumber Female Critics 2-1, Affecting

    Gender Imbalance in Film Criticism Can Hurt Visibility of Female-Driven Films, Study Finds

    Marking the 20th anniversary of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s brutal murder, this study of the controversial Italian filmmaker, novelist, poet and polemicist is the ideal complement to any showing of his work. A solidly assembled, critical crash course in the principal themes of Pasolini’s films and literature, backed by basic biographical info, this hourlong documentary should […]

  • Amazon Studios Head of Motion Picture

    Amazon Studios Head of Film Production Ted Hope to be Honored by Locarno Festival

    Marking the 20th anniversary of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s brutal murder, this study of the controversial Italian filmmaker, novelist, poet and polemicist is the ideal complement to any showing of his work. A solidly assembled, critical crash course in the principal themes of Pasolini’s films and literature, backed by basic biographical info, this hourlong documentary should […]

  • netflix-logo

    Netflix Picks up Kim Jee-woon's 'Wolf Brigade' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Marking the 20th anniversary of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s brutal murder, this study of the controversial Italian filmmaker, novelist, poet and polemicist is the ideal complement to any showing of his work. A solidly assembled, critical crash course in the principal themes of Pasolini’s films and literature, backed by basic biographical info, this hourlong documentary should […]

  • Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

    Film Review: 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again'

    Marking the 20th anniversary of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s brutal murder, this study of the controversial Italian filmmaker, novelist, poet and polemicist is the ideal complement to any showing of his work. A solidly assembled, critical crash course in the principal themes of Pasolini’s films and literature, backed by basic biographical info, this hourlong documentary should […]

  • Rose Byrne

    Film News Roundup: Rose Byrne in Talks to Join Tiffany Haddish's 'Limited Partners'

    Marking the 20th anniversary of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s brutal murder, this study of the controversial Italian filmmaker, novelist, poet and polemicist is the ideal complement to any showing of his work. A solidly assembled, critical crash course in the principal themes of Pasolini’s films and literature, backed by basic biographical info, this hourlong documentary should […]

  • Cher and Meryl Streep'Mamma Mia! Here

    How the Cast of 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again' Geeked Out Around Cher

    Marking the 20th anniversary of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s brutal murder, this study of the controversial Italian filmmaker, novelist, poet and polemicist is the ideal complement to any showing of his work. A solidly assembled, critical crash course in the principal themes of Pasolini’s films and literature, backed by basic biographical info, this hourlong documentary should […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content