• Follow us

Movies

‘Pasolini’ Review: Portrait of an Artist as Boundary-Pushing Provocateur

Abel Ferrara has come not to bury Pier Paolo Pasolini — writer, critic, activist, provocateur, communist, hedonist, out-and-proud homosexual and, last but not least, filmmaker — but to praise him. And, crucially, to commemorate the Italian director via a biopic that somehow doesn’t fall prey to the pitfalls that usually accompany hagiographic cinematic shrines. Focusing on the last 24 hours of Pasolini’s life, Ferrara’s tribute to the late Renaissance man of 20th century Rome is part hero worship, part recreation of a true-crime tragedy and completely of a piece with its creator’s obsessions over art, movies, the spiritual and the sordid. It’s the sort of movie you could see Pasolini himself digging, though he might have added more carnality and anti-consumerist rhetoric.

Related Reviews 'Avengers: Endgame' and the State of the Modern Superhero Movie 'Shadow' Review: Swords, Doubles and Curiously Boring Bloodshed, Oh My!

Sex, Drugs, Redemption and Filmmaking: A Conversation With Abel Ferrara

Oh, there is sex, notably in a scene regarding a novel Pasolini is writing and involving its hero, modeled after the author, blowing a well-endowed street kid in a park. (Compared to that highly explicit encounter, a fictional “celebratory feast” orgy sequence later in the movie practically feels quaint.) And you will hear the filmmaker, who’s not so much played by Willem Dafoe as being channeled through the actor, drop science about the bourgeois and a social system that trains people “to have, possess and destroy.” He’ll strike the iconic Pasolini pose — contemplative, handsome, hand to bowed head, cool shades on — at least twice. Mostly, however, we watch Dafoe’s “Pierutti,” as his family calls him, put the finishing touches on his masterpiece Salò, being interviewed, read the paper, exchange ideas with fellow intellectuals, eat, type and cruise for rough trade. It’s more of observational portrait then a there-goeth-the-great-man — distant but not necessarily detached and, given that it comes from the man who gave us Bad Lieutenant, restrained rather than excessive.

You can tell Ferrara admires Pasolini, as both a filmmaker who pushed envelopes and as a man who lived life according to his own rules — there’s a detectable spirit-animal influence in the former’s work. He’s cast Italian actress Adriana Asti, who was in Pasolini’s Accatone, as the filmmaker’s mother; Ninetto Davoli, a one-time lover and longtime friend of the director, plays a movie star performing scenes in what would have been Pier Paolo’s next project. (The fact that the real Davoli is doing all of this against an actor playing a younger version of himself only adds another reflection to this meta hall of mirrors.) There are visions taken from his unfinished book Petrolio, which leads to a story-within-a-story about a plane crash, and other occasional detours into Pasolini’s imagination, set to Bach compositions and Maria Callas-sung arias. Just when things start to get too phantasmagoric, the movie cuts to the intellectual playing soccer with street kids. So much of this feels like an attempt to tell his story in a visual palette and with a vocabulary that stems from someone who gave us both tweaked neo-realism and those gloriously messy “Trilogy of Life” literary adaptations.

We know where this will end, of course, which doesn’t make it any easier to watch Pasolini pick up Pino Pelosi (Damiano Tamilia) and keep his date with destiny in Ostia. That’s where, having driven with the young man to a beach after buying him dinner, he would be confronted and taunted by three men, then assaulted and eventually run over by his own Alfa Romeo. Ferrara shoots the scene mostly in darkness and with a lack of sensationalism; the matter-of-factness of how’s its presented only makes it that more chilling. Conspiracies about Mafia hit men and political payback surrounding the murder are M.I.A. In Ferrara’s eyes, this was simply a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And after spending an hour with Dafoe so beautifully showing you the passion of this searching, subversive artist — an actorly anima that helps glide over some admittedly slow, somber-to-a-fault parts here and there — to be left simply with the pain of his passing feels like a gut-punch. “The end simply does not exist,” Davoli’s heaven-bound character says, as the movie inside Pasolini’s head and the one we’re watching both runs their course. It does, of course, but courtesy of this look back in anger (and wonder), the Fine credit on his story feels like it’s been delayed just a little bit more. Pasolini is indeed gone. But Pasolini, like the filmmaker’s work itself, ensures he is anything but forgotten.

In This Article: Cult Movies

Want more Rolling Stone? Sign up for our newsletter.

Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

Rolling Stone Latest Movies

‘Charlie Says’ Review: The Manson Family Women, Reclaimed 2019-05-10 17:48:16The story of the murder spree that ended the Sixties gets told from a female perspective — and that makes all the difference

‘Detective Pikachu’ is the ‘Citizen Kane’ of Pokémon 2019-05-10 15:47:16I'm biased, but: 'Detective Pikachu' isn't a film merely for Pokémon fans. It's an emotionally resonant movie meant for every person on Ea

Watch Trailer for Devastating Portrait of Life After 2019-05-10 14:11:50After Maria set to premiere on Netflix on May 24th

‘Spider-Man’ Cast Reveal Their Scripts Are as Redacted 2019-05-10 11:46:01'It's kind of hard to learn your lines when you can't see them,' says Zendaya

Watch Renée Zellweger as Judy Garland in New 2019-05-10 10:05:39New biopic is out September 27th

‘Tolkien’ Review: …And One Biopic to Bore Them 2019-05-10 08:43:04Dull tale on 'Lord of the Rings' author's life doesn't do justice to his backstory or his breathtaking imagination

‘It Chapter 2’: See Jessica Chastain Encounter Pennywise 2019-05-09 21:05:30Second part of Stephen King's 1986 horror classic will float to theaters on September 6th

‘Pasolini’ Review: Portrait of an Artist as Boundary-Pushing 2019-05-09 15:38:33Abel Ferrara's biopic is part tribute, part true-crime recreation — and a fitting look back from one subversive director to another

Watch Hillary Swank Battle Robot in Thrilling ‘I 2019-05-09 14:04:47Netflix sci-fi flick also stars Clara Rugaard, Rose Byrne

Kenneth Branagh Embodies the Bard in Mesmerizing ‘All 2019-05-09 13:10:37Judi Dench co-stars as Shakespeare's wife in this fictional retelling of the legendary playwright

FilmBook

I AM MOTHER (2019) Movie Trailer: Hilary Swank 2019-05-10 18:28:10  I Am Mother Trailer Netflix and Grant Sputore‘s I Am Mother (2019) movie trailer has been released and stars Hilary Swank, Clara Rugaard,

IT CHAPTER TWO (2019) Teaser Trailer: The Losers 2019-05-10 12:42:01  It Chapter Two Trailer Andy Muschietti‘s It Chapter Two (2019) teaser trailer has been released and stars James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain,

LEGION: Season 3 TV Show Trailer: The Final 2019-05-10 08:00:30  Legion Season 3 Trailer FX‘s Legion: Season 3 TV show trailer has been released and stars Dan Stevens, Aubrey Plaza, Rachel Keller, Navid

THE LODGE (2019) Movie Trailer: The Past Follows 2019-05-09 09:00:01  The Lodge Trailer Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala‘s The Lodge (2019) movie trailer has been released by Neon and stars Riley Keough, Ric

THE LOUDEST VOICE (2019) TV Mini-series Trailer 2: 2019-05-09 08:00:17  The Loudest Voice Trailer 2 The second TV mini-series trailer for The Loudest Voice (2019) has been released by Showtime. Unlike the first trai

WATCHMEN (2019) TV Teaser Trailer: An Army of 2019-05-09 07:00:24  Watchmen TV Trailer HBO‘s Watchmen (2019) TV teaser trailer has been released and stars Jeremy Irons, Regina King, Don Johnson, Jean Smar

BATWOMAN (2019) Teaser Trailer: Ruby Rose Stars in 2019-05-08 14:25:26  Batwoman Teaser Trailer and TV Series Officially Ordered DC Comics and The CW‘s Batwoman (2019) teaser trailer has been released, staring

AMERICAN WOMAN (2019) Movie Trailer: Sienna Miller Has 2019-05-07 16:29:08  American Woman Trailer Jake Scott and Roadside Attractions‘ American Woman (2019) movie trailer stars Sienna Miller, Christina Hendricks,

NYT > Movies

Amazon Dropped Woody Allen’s Latest Film. Europe Has 2019-05-10 22:45:56“A Rainy Day in New York,” starring Timothée Chalamet and Elle Fanning, will be released in Italy on Oct. 3. German and Spanish dis

22 Movies? This Marvel Universe Has 1,000 Chapters 2019-05-10 20:01:31Marvel Comics No. 1000, due in August, continues a story that began in 1939, with 80 creative teams for its 80 pages.

Hannelore Elsner, Compelling German Actress, Is Dead at 2019-05-10 16:18:58She played the first female detective at the center of a German television series. On TV and in film, she was a role model for independent modern wome

Critic’s Pick: ‘Charlie Says’ Review: Complicating Those Manson 2019-05-10 15:04:51The director Mary Harron teams up with the writer Guinevere Turner for this smart, disturbing drama about three of Charles Manson’s female follo

Nicholas Hoult Sweats Gracefully in the Boxing Ring 2019-05-10 13:30:53The 29-year-old actor stars in “Tolkien,” a movie about the “Lord of the Rings” writer.

Anatomy of a Scene: How to Create a 2019-05-10 10:33:21The director Rob Letterman narrates a scene featuring Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Pikachu.

‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’ | Anatomy of a Scene 2019-05-10 10:32:38The director Rob Letterman narrates a sequence from his film featuring the voice of Ryan Reynolds.

A Word With: Do Women Have Superpowers? Gugu 2019-05-10 10:00:07She talks about her unlikely abilities in “Fast Color” and her coming projects, including Apple’s “The Morning Show” and

Streaming Movie Review: ‘Shéhérazade’ Review: Love in the 2019-05-10 07:00:01The options are few and most of them involve risk or further deprivation for these French teenagers who face the world with little support.

3 Film Series to Catch in N.Y.C. This 2019-05-09 16:45:05Our guide to film series and special screenings.

‘All Is True’ Review: Regret Is the Thing, 2019-05-09 16:09:10Kenneth Branagh’s fond, partly fictional portrait of William Shakespeare’s retirement is a soapy tale of family secrets and festering rese

Critic’s Pick: ‘The Serengeti Rules’ Review: Making Science 2019-05-09 15:54:57A documentarian and his crew re-enact real ecological experiments, training the viewer to see biodiversity as beauty.

L.A. Times - Movie News

Indie Focus: A new look at the Manson 2019-05-10 16:00:00Hello! I’m Mark Olsen. Welcome to another edition of your regular field guide to a world of Only Good Movies. The Cannes Film Festival starts ne

‘Avengers: Endgame’s’ Karen Gillan tells all about Nebula’s 2019-05-10 14:00:00She was a character who, by Karen Gillan’s own account, seemed destined for a single-film stint in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A “blue

In ‘Judy’ trailer, Renée Zellweger makes Garland's rainbow 2019-05-10 12:15:00In the new trailer for “Judy,” it’s 30 years since “The Wizard of Oz,” and Judy Garland is in Swinging London, circa 196

Reviews: Raw docs ‘Game Girls’ and ‘Origin Story,’ 2019-05-10 12:05:00'Game Girls' In “Game Girls,” Polish-born documentarian Alina Skrzeszewska (“Songs from the Nickel”) plunks us down in the m

Reviews for the Spanish historical fantasy ‘The Bastards’ 2019-05-10 11:30:00'The Bastards' Fig Tree' The Spanish Civil War has been the backdrop for multiple great movies, many of which are steeped in metaphor as much as hi

After PETA controversy, ‘A Dog’s Journey’ becomes unlikely 2019-05-10 09:30:00When “A Dog’s Purpose” hit theaters a couple of years ago, it looked like a flop. In addition to dismal reviews (a 34% “rotten

Why Diane Keaton cares more about Instagram than 2019-05-10 07:30:00Diane Keaton doesn’t really track the box office of the films she’s in anymore. The numbers she’s obsessed with are on Instagram. &l

Reviews for the essential documentary ‘Merata,’ Jamaica’s poetic 2019-05-09 20:15:00'Merata' As seminal cinema figures go, New Zealand’s Merata Mita should be better known. The first indigenous woman, and Maori woman, to direc

Review: ‘General Magic’ profiles the people who created 2019-05-09 18:25:00“General Magic” is such an involving documentary for so many reasons it’s hard to know where to begin. The title itself, as it turns

Review: Chelsea Manning proves elusive in documentary profile 2019-05-09 18:05:00“I ’m not the person people think I am,” says Chelsea Manning, the transgender whistle-blower and activist star of the provocative d

Critic's Choice: Leonard Maltin showcases his favorites at 2019-05-09 18:00:00Los Angeles has no lack of film critics, but there isn’t one who is more respected and admired than author and “Entertainment Tonight&rdqu

Review: Gritty French drama ‘Shéhérazade’ reminds us what 2019-05-09 17:20:00In the French film “Shéhérazade,” set in the hardscrabble Arab underbelly of Marseilles, love makes a young couple’s f

CinemaBlend Latest Content

Karen Gillan Hopes 'Drunk Thor' Joins The Guardians 2019-05-12 13:18:07Drunk Thor ftw.

John Wick Has A Deleted Scene Out There 2019-05-12 13:15:02Never would've guessed this!

Taron Egerton Hopes Rocketman Makes Even Half Of 2019-05-12 12:19:42Do you think it will even make half? Half is A LOT when you're talking about Bohemian Rhapsody's gross.

Jumanji 3 Is Finally Finished Filming, And The 2019-05-12 11:12:42Don't cry, don't cry, don't cry, don't cry.

Avengers Writers Confirm Deeper Meaning Of Doctor Strange's 2019-05-12 10:20:27In doing so, the writers shoot down a fan theory about Doctor Strange's outcomes.

Ryan Reynolds Has A Perfect Mother's Day Message 2019-05-11 18:17:57The actor is attempting to separate himself from his Deadpool character this weekend.

Judy Trailer: Renée Zellweger Is Unrecognizable As Judy 2019-05-11 15:39:46The actress is taking on the Wizard of Oz icon during her last tour as a singer.

Rian Johnson Is Still Defending The Last Jedi 2019-05-11 14:43:47There's another rumor that Rian Johnson's trilogy was cancelled. Don't go buying anything like that until Lucasfilm makes a statement.

Joe Russo Is Interested In Directing A Batman 2019-05-11 14:21:10Trading one massive comic book franchise for another.

John Wick 3 Filming Was Hijacked By A 2019-05-11 13:46:39It was raining cats and dogs on the set of the latest John Wick.

Was This Chris Evans' 'Stupid' Final Line For 2019-05-11 13:06:14Some light detective work might have solved this one.

Godzilla: King Of The Monsters Has Screened, Here 2019-05-11 11:56:00All hail the king!


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.