Close Up

3 - 29 May 2018: Close-Up on Pier Paolo Pasolini

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“Celebrated the world over as one of the central figures of the postwar Italian cinema, Pier Paolo Pasolini is recognized in his native land as arguably the most important Italian artist and intellectual of the twentieth century. A gifted writer and penetrating thinker, Pasolini was already renowned as a poet, novelist, critic and screenwriter before he directed his first film, Accattone, in 1960. Pasolini remained prodigiously industrious as a writer and political activist throughout his career, even as his films brought him greater celebrity – and notoriety – during the last fifteen years of his life, often overshadowing other facets of his remarkably diverse accomplishments. An outspoken but unorthodox leftist, Pasolini attracted controversy from all sides of the political spectrum, with his often sexually explicit and willingly perverse films drawing the frequent ire of Italian censors. With his penchant for political critique and stylistic reinvention, Pasolini is in some ways the Italian counterpart to Jean-Luc Godard. Despite his obvious glee in shocking the bourgeoisie, Pasolini was also a thoughtful, even philosophical, filmmaker who bridged the gap between the post-neorealist group led by Fellini and Antonioni and the generation of Young Turks that included Bernardo Bertolucci and Marco Bellocchio." – Harvard Film Archive

Accattone
Pier Paolo Pasolini
1961 | 116 min | B/W | Digital
Italian with English subtitles

Pasolini’s magnificent directorial debut, a chronicle of the life of a petty criminal and pimp, reveals the young director’s indebtedness to postwar Italian neo-realism with its episodic narrative, location shooting on city streets and use of nonprofessional actors. read more

Love Meetings
Pier Paolo Pasolini
1964 | 92 min | B/W | Digital
Italian with English subtitles

The remarkable Love Meetings is nothing less than a cinema-vérité Kinsey Report – with occasional Godardian touches – on Italian sexual mores in the 1960s. Traveling across Italy, Pasolini and his camera interview people on the street, sunbathers at the beach and soccer players on the pitch about their attitudes towards marriage and divorce, homosexuality, prostitution, machismo and gender roles. read more

The Gospel According to Matthew
Pier Paolo Pasolini
1964 | 137 min | B/W | Digital
Italian with English subtitles 

Pasolini’s disarmingly straightforward version of the life of Christ secured his reputation as a filmmaker, rather than simply a poet dabbling in cinema. Aiming to strip away the sanctimony typical of screen adaptations of the Gospels, Pasolini sought to recover the rough poetry of the original texts, pointedly omitting the “Saint” from his title to secularise Matthew. read more

Scouting in Palestine
Pier Paolo Pasolini
1965 | 52 min | B/W | Digital
Italian with English subtitles

An evocative behind-the-scenes glimpse into Pasolini’s creative project, the film serves as testimony to his idiosyncratic views of Jesus as a historical figure and his distinctions between the ancient and modern worlds. read more

Oedipus Rex
Pier Paolo Pasolini
1967 | 104 min | Colour | Digital
Italian with English subtitles

Three years after The Gospel According to Matthew, Pier Paolo Pasolini resumed his series of classical adaptations with a savage, highly personal take on Sophocles’ ancient Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex. As his first colour feature, Oedipus Rex makes brilliant use of wildly alternating Moroccan landscapes to transpose collective myth into a particular vision that is at once tender, sensual, and wholly unsparing. read more

Theorem
Pier Paolo Pasolini
1968 | 98 min | Colour | Digital
Italian with English subtitles

The story of a sexually magnetic stranger, played by a mesmerizing Terence Stamp, who methodically disrupts the well-ordered household of a wealthy Milanese industrialist, Theorem’s hidden tensions are brought to the surface with a shocking suddenness that remains as inexplicable as it is inevitable. read more

Medea
Pier Paolo Pasolini
1969 | Colour | 110 min | Digital
Italian with English subtitles

A mythical tale of love, betrayal and revenge, Medea is a fascinating collision of Freudian and Marxist themes. Adapted from the Euripides drama, Pasolini’s disturbing vision of personal and national conflicts stars operatic legend Maria Callas in the title role, offering an extraordinary performance as the high priestess Medea whose love is threatened by corrupt political ambition. read more

Notes Towards an African Orestes
Pier Paolo Pasolini
1970 | 63 min | Colour | Digital
Italian with English subtitles

Takes and scenes filmed on location in Africa for a film-that-never-was, a black Oresteia. Little-seen and little-discussed, Notes Towards an African Orestes is essential viewing for understanding Pasolini’s political thinking and his attachment to myth. read more

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom
Pier Paolo Pasolini
1975 | 116 min | Colour | Digital
Italian with English subtitles

Disillusioned by the sexual revolution, which he felt had only entrenched sexuality in consumerism and bourgeois rationalism, Pasolini responded with his most notorious and final film, Salò. Setting up equivalences between Sadean sexual license, Italian fascism and consumerist alienation, Salò delivers a trenchant political allegory that tends to be overshadowed by its explicit nudity and images of sexual sadism. read more

Calendar

Title

Date

Time

Book

Scouting in Palestine Sunday 27.05.18 6:00 pm Book
The Gospel According to Matthew Sunday 27.05.18 7:30 pm Book
Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom Monday 28.05.18 7:30 pm Book
Notes towards an African Orestes Tuesday 29.05.18 7:30 pm Book