Monday, December 5, 2011
Pier Paolo Pasolini
4 titles, 76th in points with 11,149
Before entering films, Pier Paolo Pasolini was a published poet and novelist. His first film, Accatone! (1961), was an adaptation of his own novel. An atheist and a communist, he was once arrested for blasphemy for his contribution to the film Ro.Go.Pa.G. (1963), and given a suspended sentence.
Pasolini’s controversial film career was cut short by his murder, which was blamed on a homosexual lover, but which many think was a political assassination orchestrated by neo-Fascists in Italy, who were upset with Pasolini’s irreverence for right-wing facades like patriotism and religion used to disguise brutality and anti-humanitarian activities. Ironically, his father had once saved the life of Mussolini. He was murdered just after Salo, which was about fascist sado-masochist experiments eerily similar to those practiced by the Nazis in WW2. It was likely a combination of this and the writings of De Sade.
This was all very interesting since his Gospel film, The Gospel According to St. Matthew (his original Italian title omitted the "St.") is the most accurate and least Hollywooden of any of the many biblical and gospel films before, and properly ranked at the top of his work. Instead of the typical blond, blue-eyed Jesus, such as played by Tab Hunter and Max von Sydow before, Pasolini cast an unknown Spanish student in the lead role, while all the extras were also locals who actually looked authentic. The entire film had a primitive look to the exteriors, while the narrative was exactly what was in the St. Matthew gospel, so it’s pretty manic and fast-moving in sections, there’s no filler inserted, making it the most intense of all the biblical films (those I’ve seen anyway). I would even call this film a must-see for all cinephiles, and you're either going to like it's style a lot or hate it.
These are all the films of Italian director Pasolini that made the top 1000 in our 2011 update of the Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Net, all polls.
1. The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)
2. Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975) #272 I cannot recommend this film, or fathom why it's ranked this highly
3. Teorema (1968) #680
4. Accattone (1961) #696
Out of the top 1000
5. Arabian Nights (1974) #1229
6. Mamma Roma (1962) #1941
I would recommend at least seeing The Decameron from Boccacio's 14th century work if you're interested in classic erotica, such as Fielding's Tom Jones, Moll Flanders, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, or Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Winsor, who husband-swapped to happiness, but unfortunately not on dvd, only on PBS tv.
See the full list of top ranked 100 directors here: Top Ranked 100 Directors, 2011 Edition