Pier Paolo Pasolini

"His attitudes to Marxism, Catholicism and other prickly subjects in Italy reveal themselves in his films. Together with these elements, and their more overt content… Pasolini's films were certain targets for controversy. But many of them also have a rare beauty that renders their less digestible content more palatable." - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Film Directors, 1999)

Pier Paolo Pasolini

Director / Screenwriter
(1922-1975) Born March 5, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: Italy, France, West Germany
Key Genres: Drama, Comedy, Satire, Period Film, Urban Drama, Religious Drama, Sex Comedy, Tragedy, Documentary
Key Collaborators: Nino Baragli (Editor), Tonino Delli Colli (Cinematographer), Franco Citti (Leading Actor), Ninetto Davoli (Leading Character Actor), Alfredo Bini (Producer), Ennio Morricone (Composer), Dante Ferretti (Production Designer), Alberto Grimaldi (Producer), Giuseppe Ruzzolini (Cinematographer), Laura Betti (Leading Character Actress), Luigi Scaccianoce (Production Designer), Luigi Barbini (Character Actor)

"Pier Paolo Pasolini is among the most challenging and important directors of the postwar European Marxist cinema. A prolific poet and essayist, Pasolini was sometimes confusing in his ideological convictions. His open homosexuality and support of the Vatican’s views on abortion caused his expulsion from the Italian Communist Party. His belief in a progressive reading of Christianity motivated his reverential, multicultural film about the life of Jesus, The Gospel According to Saint Matthew (1964). Yet his Marxism was caustic, complex but uncompromised." - Christopher Sharrett (Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film, 2006)
"Despite admiration for Pasolini as a theorist, I cannot like his films too much. He often inflicted a portentous mystery on his images, and was not the most graceful of visual realizers. His strident compositions were clumsy and monotonous, and his appetite for faces often overrode the ability to edit shots together fluently. The style was top-heavy, just as the meanings of his films were too literary, too immediate, and too inconsistent." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2002)
"Pier Paolo Pasolini, poet, novelist, philosopher, and filmmaker, came of age during the reign of Italian fascism, and his art is inextricably bound to his politics. Pasolini's films, like those of his early apprentice Bernardo Bertolucci, began under the influence of neorealism. He also did early scriptwriting with Bolognini and Fellini. Besides these roots in neorealism, Pasolini's works show a unique blend of linguistic theory and Italian Marxism." - Tony D'Arpino (The St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia, 1998)
"Although inconsistent and erratic in the quality of his film work, Pasolini was certainly among the most intriguing and controversial of contemporary directors, a complex artist constantly juggling the conflicting forces that influenced his art, in a brave attempt to reconcile his allegiances to Marx, Freud, and Jesus Christ." - The MacMillan International Film Encyclopedia, 1994
"Pier Paolo Pasolini is a great filmmaker, one of cinema's true artists, and yet he has arguably made only one really great film. There's a very good reason for this apparent paradox. What Pasolini was attempting, as a novelist, poet and director, was so insanely ambitious and experimental that it veered into the quixotic. He was trying to rewrite the language of film and construct his own cinema of poetry. This was not to be a lyricism stuffed with chocolate-box beauty, but a difficult, gnarly poetry that wasn't wasy to consume. And like all true experiments, it didn't always work." - Lloyd Hughes (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)
"Explored myth in enigmatic, sometimes scorchingly humorous and violent productions." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
"Compared with neo-realism, I think I have introduced a certain realism, but it would be hard to define it exactly." - Pier Paolo Pasolini
TSPDT Guide
Recommended
Accattone (1961) , Mamma Roma (1962), The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)
Worth a Look
La Rabbia (1963) [co-directed by Giovanni Guareschi], RoGoPaG (1963) [also directed by Jean-Luc Godard, Ugo Gregoretti & Roberto Rossellini], Love Meetings (1965), The Hawks and the Sparrows (1966) , Oedipus Rex (1967) , Caprice Italian Style (1968) [also directed by Mauro Bolognini, Mario Monicelli, Steno, Pino Zac & Franco Rossi], Teorema (1968) , Pigsty (1969), Medea (1969), Notes Towards an African Orestes (1970), The Decameron (1970), Arabian Nights (1974)
Not Recommended
The Canterbury Tales (1971), Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films
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Films / Books
    Teorema
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