Though controversial Italian director, poet and intellectual Pier Paolo Pasolini seems to have fallen out of fashion since his murder in 1975, Giuseppe Bertolucci’s thoughtful docu “Pasolini Next to Us” jolts the viewer with the relevance of his ideas. The film is a collage of stills taken by photographer Deborah Imogen Beer on the set of “Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom,” Pasolini’s final film, released after his death. The director’s high-pitched voice furnishes the soundtrack in an interview with critic Gideon Bachmann. Given the caliber of those involved, fest play is guaranteed, with pubcaster interest a possibility.
Still quite a shocker, “Salo” was received by auds in 1975 as a staggering insult, and its producer, Alberto Grimaldi, put on trial (and absolved) for corruption of minors and obscenity. Inspired De Sade’s novel, script by Pasolini and Sergio Citti (who was originally scheduled to direct) is set in during the final months of Italian fascism. In Bachmann’s interview, the director speaks more about general ideas than about the film’s themes of power, violence and mortification of the body, which are impressively captured by Beer’s often electrifying still images.