A special Pasolini Film Series will be screened on Sept 14 at the Castro Theater and Sept 15th at the Roxie in San Francisco. Special guest is one of his actors and closest friends Ninetto Davoli. The program is produced by Amelia Antonucci and a part of the program by the Italian Cultural Institute in San Francisco. Also present at the screenings will be Barth David Schwartz formerly from San Francisco, who has written the definitive biography on the late filmmaker - "Pasolini Requiem"(1992 -translated into Italian, Swedish and Dutch).
Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975) was brutally murdered outside Rome in 1975. At his funeral , which was a day of national mourning, Italian novelist Alberto Moravia called him Italy’s greatest poet of the second half of the 20th century.
Pasolini was not only a filmmaker but also a poet and writer who later expressed himself in Friulian, a dialect of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of northern Italy. His mother was born in Casarsa where he lived off and on from 1926 and during World War II. Today, not far from the family home is the “Center for Pasolini Studies” ; Pasolini and his mother are buried outside the village.
Pier Paolo Pasolini was an openly gay director with strong leftist political beliefs. He maintained that postwar economic forces, especially television, had created a new fascism in Italy with a homogenic consumer society that could be easily manipulated.
The filmmaker’s costume and art direction in his films are extraordinary creations, principally fashioned by Danilo Donati and Dante Ferretti, and his films are often shot in the rugged exteriors of post war Italy, Turkey, Africa, and Thailand. He has brought to film tales from mythology in exciting and imaginative re-inventions. Probably his most extraordinary film, and his last, was “Salò” (1975), a metaphorically created narrative that symbolizes the normalcy of torture during Mussolini’s fascism using the writings of the Marquis de Sade as an analogy .
Saturday’s program at the Castro who will feature “Mama Roma" starring the powerful actress of Italian neorealism Anna Magnani. She plays an ex-prostitute trying to provide her son with a typical bourgeois upbringing and who is still under the control of a pimp from her previous working days.
“Medea” will be shown after, starring the famous Greek opera singer Maria Callas in a non-singing role as the mythical figure who steels the Golden Fleece after being tricked by Jason. The film is shot in the magical landscape of the Göreme National Park in Turkey.
“Decamerón” concludes Saturday’s program, a crude and humorous rendition of early Renaissance life based on the 14th-century medieval allegory by Renaissance author Giovanni Boccaccio.
The film series continues on Sunday at the Roxie with Salò, an unforgettable film that was censored for years, “Arabian Nights” from the Arabic anthology, “The Book of One Thousand and One nights” introduced by Barth David Schwartz - and “The Canterbury Tales” based on Chaucer’s medieval poem. Pasolini said, “Decamerón” and the Sunday films are his most radical because they show human existence before it was corrupted by capitalism.