Born In: Bologna, Italy
Pier Paolo Pasolini was a renowned Italian poet, novelist, motion-picture director, playwright and political figure. Having discovered a passion for the arts early in life, he was able to move seamlessly between drawing, painting, writing, poetry and filmmaking. A published poet at the age of nineteen, he went on produce some memorable poetry collections. Like his novels, his films too focused on the imperfect yet relatable youths from the borgate (Rome’s slums) of his time. To capture that neorealistic authenticity, he often enrolled non-professional actors to play certain roles, and used the power of classical music to add texture to the complexity of dramatic scenes in his feature films. His filmmaking style was very direct, and it dealt with a lot of controversial issues like sexual taboos, religion and politics. A champion of modern linguistic theory that he was, his idea of directing a film was akin to making true poetry, which therefore required reality to be expressed through scenes that felt untainted and visceral. His interpretation of Marxism and Catholic values remained a recurring theme in his works of art; he would often label himself a Catholic Communist. Being an avowed homosexual, however, meant that he had to endure several court cases and threats to his livelihood and well-being throughout his adult life.
Died At Age: 53
Spouse/Ex-: Ninetto Davoli
father: Carlo Alberto Pasolini
mother: Susanna Pasolini
siblings: Guidalberto Pasolini
Born Country: Italy
place of death: Ostia, Italy
Ancestry: Polish Italian
Cause of Death: Assassination
City: Bologna, Italy
Notable Alumni: University Of Bologna
education: University Of Bologna
Pier Paolo Pasolini was born on 5 March 1922, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Bologna of then Kingdom of Italy; the same year Mussolini seized power in Rome.
His father, Carlo Alberto Pasolini, served an infantry lieutenant for the Fascist government. His mother, Susanna Colussi, was a trained schoolteacher who passed on her love for books to her kids.
His father’s military career meant the family had to move around the country a lot. Reading literature and poetry of the likes of Novalis, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky etc. thus helped him stay grounded throughout the tumultuous relocations.
In 1939, he enrolled into University of Bologna’s Literature College. There, he discovered new concepts of figurative arts like aesthetics and philology.
Pier Pablo Pasolini joined the military in 1943. Soon after, the Germans took his regiment as prisoner following the surrender of Italy. However, he managed to escape and took refuge in Casarsa with his family.
Together with other Friulian language aficionados, he began a magazine Stroligùt di cà da l'aga. The magazine’s first issue came out in May 1944.
He and his friends formed the Academiuta di lenga furlana [Friulian Language Academy] in February 1945. During his time with the Academiuta, he published two poetry collections, I Diarii and I Pianti as well as an Italian drama.
Around the time when he was secondary school teacher, he was elected secretary of the Casarsa cell of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) in 1947. But a controversy about him corrupting the local youth through homosexual conduct soon ensued.
Following the fracas in Casarsa, he was forced to move to Rome sometime in the early 1950s where he found work at one of the Cinecittà film studios. With the help of another poet, Vittorio Clemente, he found a second job as a teacher in a suburb, just outside of Rome.
By 1954, Pier Paolo Pasolini left his teaching job, and was working fulltime for the Cinecittà’s literary section. The studio made accommodations for him and his ailing father.
He published his first major poem collection, The Ashes of Gramsci in 1955, which received appreciation from all quarters. Ragazzi de vita, his first of many novels, too was published that same year.
After a brief stint writing dialogues for Italian films, he made his directorial debut with Accattone in 1961.
In 1962, in his film, Mama Roma, he casted non-professional actors with Anna Magnani: a celebrated actress at the time.
In 1963, he directed an episode in the anthology film, RoGoPaG. The movie was censored in Italy and he was tried for blasphemy by the Italian state. As a consequence, he was briefly imprisoned.
His filmmaking during the mid-1960s began examining Marxism and Christianity through the lens of hard satire. The first was The Gospel according to St. Matthew which drew praise from Catholic groups. The second, Hawks and Sparrows starring the great Totò was a satire.
Between 1967 to 1969, he through his films experimented with concepts of ideology and myth. Oedipus Rex and Medea were adaptations from Greek mythology, whereas Teorema and Pigpen showcased the ill effects of a commodified Western culture.
The trio of movies, namely Arabian Nights, Canterbury Tales and Decameron he made during the early 1970s were more for the mass market than his usual elite international audience.
In 1976, his film, The 120 Days of Sodom (or Salò), was a nightmarish story set in 1944 Italy. It was his way of moving away from commercial filmmaking and back into conceptual space. It also happened to be his final film.
The Ashes of Gramsci (1957) remains his most famous collection of poetry. He wrote it as tribute to the founder of the Italian Communist Party, Antonio Gramsci. It created a buzz in the literary circles of Italy last seen during the time of D’Annuzio.
His approach to filmmaking took on a poetic brilliance of sorts through the use of individual camera shots as continuous, autonomous units. Thus, his film, The Gospel, created some of the most literal yet moving interpretations of the story of Jesus Christ.
Pier Pablo Pasolini had a brother, Guido, who joined the Party of Action and served in their Osoppo-Friuli brigade as a nineteen-year-old. He was killed in an ambush by Italian partisans while serving with Yugoslavian guerilla fighters formed by Josip Tito.
An avowed homosexual, he identified as a Catholic communist. Yet, he drew the ire of the church, society and government. In 1949, he was sacked from his teaching post, as well as the PCI after charges of corrupting minors through homosexual misconducts were levied against him.
His dead body was recovered at the beachside in Ostia on 2 November 1975. Forensic investigation later revealed gruesome accounts of broken bones, crushed genitalia and partial burns. His remains were finally laid to rest in his hometown Casarsa.
Pier Paolo Pasolini Movies
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