The Pier Paolo Pasolini Film Series produced by Amelia Antonucci with Luce Cinecittà ended with a panel on September 17 at the Italian Cultural Institute in San Francisco. Antonucci has brought the program to seven US cities including the screenings of Sept 14 and 15 at the Castro and Roxie Theatres. The widescreen projections of the late filmmaker's films, some with new 35 mm prints allowed close proximity to his work. The series celebrate the "Year of Italian Culture in the US".
A more extensive series and separate program of Pasolini films will be held at the Pacific Film Archives from Sept 20 to Oct 31 includes “Medea” with Maria Callas, “Teorema” with Terence Stamp, the “Trilogy of Life” –“Canterbury Tales”, “Decameron”, and “Arabian Nights” and “Accatone”, “Hawks and Sparrows” with Ninetto Davoli, “Mama Roma” with Anna Magnani, “Salò”,“Notes for an African Orestes”, and “Oedipus Rex”.
Ninetto Davoli was Pasolini’s favorite actor and closest friend, and the last one to see him before he died in 1975. He was the special guest of the San Francisco series, and shared with the audience that his work in “Canterbury Tales” was praised by Charlie Chaplin, one of his fondest memories. Chaplin's daughter Josephine was in the film. Davoli explained that he initially had no interest in acting but had hung around one of Pasolini’s films shot on location where their friendship began. His first non-speaking role was in “The Gospel According to Saint Matthew” and then was cast opposite the famous Italian comedian Totò in “Hawks and Sparrows” (1966). He was featured in Pasolini’s “Trilogy of Life” and today works primarily in Italian television. Davoli's translator, Dr Antonia Fraser Fujinaga from the Italian Cultural Institute, did a brilliant job of bringing his words and ideas to life.
The director of the Italian Cultural Institute, Dr. Paolo Barlera, translated “ Pasolini Requiem” into Italian written by the brilliant biographer Barth David Schwartz, also special guest for the film series. Schwartz said that the late filmmaker had several projects in the wings before his tragic death, including a film on the gospel of Saint Paul where Ninetto Davoli would play the lead. Ninetto also exuberantly spoke of Pasolini’s zest and vitality in a spirited discussion.
Also on the panel was Jack Hirschman, a San Francisco poet and social activist, who read from poems he compiled in his anthology of Pasolini’s literary work, “In Danger” and Dr. Beverly Allen who is currently guest lecturer in Comparative Literature at Stanford and author of “Pier Paolo Pasolini: The Poetics of Heresy”. The evening concluded with a special concerto written for one of Pasolini's works.
The Italian Cultural Institute in San Francisco holds seminars and special cultural events throughout the year such as the closing panel of the Pasolini Film Series this week.