-- A Tribute to Pier Paolo Pasolini
Venue:  Playhouse Theater [40 Main Street, Tiburon]
Showtime:   Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 03:45 PM

  Tiburon International Film Festival proudly is holding a tribute in honor of the great Italian poet, and filmmaker, Pier Paolo Pasolini, one of the most talented, controversial, intelligent, and daring filmmakers of his generation. We salute Pasolini and pay our homage with a new documentary titled The Isle of Medea, directed by fellow Italian filmmaker Sergio Naitza.

Outside Italy Pasolini is usually remembered as one of the most significant of the directors who emerged in the second wave of Italian postwar cinema in the early 1960s but, within Italy itself, Pasolini was always much more than just a distinctive and innovative filmmaker. By the time he came to make his first film, Accattone, in 1961, he had already published numerous collections of poetry, two highly-acclaimed novels, had collaborated widely in cultural-literary journals and firmly established himself as one of Italy’s leading writer-intellectuals. In the 15 years that followed, before being brutally murdered in 1975 — and always inspired by what he himself called “a desperate vitality” and a “love of Reality” — he made a dozen feature films and half a dozen shorts, wrote, translated and sometimes directed theatrical works, published several further collections of poetry, two volumes of critical essays, painted some 40 canvases and, through his numerous articles in journals and his caustic columns in daily newspapers, became the loudest dissenting voice in Italian political and cultural debate. Intensely passionate and iconoclastic, often paradoxical and contradictory, Pasolini was almost certainly, as Zygmunt Baranski has written in a recent critical reappraisal, Italy’s major post-war intellectual.

Born in Bologna in 1922, the year that Fascism came to power, Pasolini spent his early years in various small towns of Northern Italy as the family followed the father, an infantry officer with fascist leanings, in his military postings. Pasolini’s sympathies, however, would always remain with his mother, a schoolteacher who cultivated a love of poetry and who transmitted this devotion to her son. In the mid-1930s the family returned to Bologna where Pasolini finished his schooling and enrolled in the University. During this time he also spent long periods in his mother’s native Northern region of Casarsa, falling in love with its peasant culture and beginning to write poetry in its distinctive dialect. At Bologna University he majored in literature but also studied art history with the renowned art-historian Roberto Longhi, an experience that would later profoundly influence the visual style of his earlier films. At the end of the war, which had claimed the life of his younger brother, Pasolini and his mother settled at Casarsa where he worked as a schoolteacher while also being active in cultural-literary circles and becoming secretary of the local branch of the PCI (the Italian Communist Party).

In 1949, however, he was accused of homosexual activity with students and immediately suspended from his teaching and expelled from the Party. Profoundly disillusioned, he moved to Rome with his mother and settled in one of the borgate or shanty-towns at the margins of the city. Here, while eking out a living from a variety of odd jobs, he became fascinated with the sub-proletarian and petty-criminal life going on around him, and began to write about it. However, Ragazzi di vita, his first full-length novel dealing with the world of the borgate, published in 1955, saw him officially charged with offences to public decency. He was eventually exonerated, in part due to the strong support of many of the leading intellectuals and writers, but this would be only the first of many times that Pasolini and his “scandalous” work would be subjected to official censure and harassment. In fact, from this point until his brutal murder in 1975, Pasolini would continue to play the role of Italy’s most notorious intellectual provocateur (intellettuale scomodo), with his books, films and ideas consistently generating controversy and with Pasolini himself often ending up in court. On the positive side, however, his graphic depiction of the Roman underworld brought an increasing number of offers of scriptwriting from established Italian directors like Mauro Bolognini and Federico Fellini so that Pasolini’s move to cinema became almost a foregone conclusion.

Pasolini died, aged 53, just weeks before the premiere of what would be his last film, Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975), an unrelentingly cruel adaptation of the Marquis de Sade’s catalog of degradation and torture which Pasolini intended as a caustic commentary on the brutality of fascism. He’d been run over, supposedly by a 17-year-old hustler (who later recanted his confession), leaving Antonioni to remark that he’d become “a victim of his own characters”.


1975 Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom
1974 Arabian Nights
1972 The Canterbury Tales
1972 12 dicembre (Documentary) (uncredited)
1971 The Decameron
1971 The Walls of Sana'a (Documentary short)
1970 Appunti per un romanzo dell'immondezza (Documentary)
1970 Notes Towards an African Orestes (Documentary)
1969 Medea
1969 Porcile
1969 Love and Anger (segment "La sequenza del fiore di carta")
1968 Orgia
1968 Teorema
1968 Appunti per un film sull'India (TV Short documentary)
1968 Capriccio all'italiana (segment "Che cosa sono le nuvole?")
1967 Oedipus Rex
1967 The Witches (segment "Terra vista dalla luna, La")
1967 Pasolini intervista: Ezra Pound (TV Short documentary) (uncredited)
1966 The Hawks and the Sparrows
1965 Sopralluoghi in Palestina per il vangelo secondo Matteo (Documentary)
1964 The Gospel According to St. Matthew
1964 Love Meetings (Documentary)
1963 La rabbia (Documentary) (part one)
1963 Ro.Go.Pa.G. (segment "La ricotta")
1962 Mamma Roma
1961 Accattone

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