Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975)

Seeking Locations in Palestine for the Film "The Gospel According to Matthew" (Sopralluoghi in Palestina per il film "Il Vangelo secondo Matteo") (1965)

Pasolini’s cinematic works roughly correspond to four periods in the socially and politically committed artist’s life. The National Popular Cinema commenced with his debut, Accattone (1961), which immediately made a name for him as a filmmaker of prodigious talent and fury. This was followed by Mamma Roma and a number of episodic comic films containing warm, honest portraits of people living on the fringes of society, culminating in the masterful The Gospel According to Matthew. Marking him as a provocative thinker and audacious artist with an uncompromising vision, Pasolini’s middle period, often termed The Unpopular Cinema, features excoriating depictions of the bourgeoisie that lend a passionate immediacy to films like Teorema, Porcile, and a modern interpretation of Medea.

The Trilogy of LifeThe Decameron, The Canterbury Tales, and Arabian Nights—produced between 1971 and 1974, is a triumphant reinterpretation of classic tales and fables that retain their universality despite being interpreted by thoroughly modern means. As Pasolini himself noted, he focused on the past precisely because it reflects the present most profoundly. Sometimes referred to as The Abjuration of the Trilogy of Life, the director’s utterly despairing final film, Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom, was held up for years due to censorship issues, and it remains a shockingly raw and profoundly disconcerting experience. Salò was completed in 1975, the year of Pasolini’s mysterious murder.

Pier Paolo Pasolini in UbuWeb Sound