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TIFF Cinematheque presents - Pasolini

08 Mar 2014

TIFF Cinematheque presents – Pier Paolo Pasolini

(Please note that the article that follows is reproduced from TIFF Cinematheque.

While the capsule reviews are written by Gilbert Seah.)

 

Pier Paolo Pasolini: The Poet of Contamination

March 8 to April 12

TIFF Bell Lightbox

“In an era when Italy produced a bumper crop of difficult, passionate artists, especially in the cinema, he may have been the most difficult of all, and arguably the most prodigiously talented. . . . More than three decades after his death, his best films still feel like news.” — A.O. Scott, The New York Times

 

“Pasolini is like a God to me, a god of aesthetic, majestic style” — Sergei Paradjanov

 

“Pier Paolo Pasolini is the major Italian poet of the second half of this century. One poet is not more valuable than another, but Pasolini has said more important things with greater force than the others.” — Alberto Moravia

 

“If you know that I am an unbeliever, then you know me better than I do myself. I may be an unbeliever, but I am an unbeliever who has a nostalgia for a belief.” — Pier Paolo Pasolini

 

Filmmaker, novelist, linguist, critic, playwright, painter, journalist and poet, Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922–1975), was one of the most important and controversial intellectuals of postwar Italian culture. Employing raw, street-shot imagery of the poor, disenfranchised and unfortunate, Pasolini was a fierce critic of his country’s complacency and bourgeois aspirations as it underwent the economic transformation into modernity.

Pier Paolo Pasolini: The Poet of Contamination opens on March 8 with an archival print of the raucously funny and woundingly moving Mamma Roma (1962), featuring the volcanic Anna Magnani in a tour-de-force performance as an ex-prostitute whose class aspirations and unconditional love for her no-good son lead to tragic results. The screening will be introduced by Luca Caminati, Italian cinema scholar and Associate Professor of Film Studies at Concordia University, who will discuss Pasolini’s representation of the urban landscape in the film as exemplary of the director’s cinematic pastiche. Pasolini’s eclectic oeuvre ranges from classic texts refashioned to stress their pagan qualities, such as his version of Euripides’ tragedy, Medea (1970), starring Maria Callas in her only major non-operatic role in cinema, to political fables such as Porcile (1969), an outrageous and touching portrait of the hypocrisy and greed of contemporary life starring Jean-Pierre Léaud and Pierre Clémenti. Based on the three most famous works of omnibus fiction in world literature, Pasolini’s Trilogy of Life celebrates sex as the conduit to the sacred. Visually spectacular and juicily sacrilegious, The Decameron (1971) turns Boccaccio’s blasphemous tales about lusty nuns, reprobate priests and thieving sacristans into a glorious celebration of fleshly pleasure. Banned in Italy despite having won the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival, The Canterbury Tales (1972) is a wild refashioning of the famous medieval text, populated by copious codpieces, copulation and scatology. Intoxicating in its eroticism, The Arabian Nights (1974) is a daring and debauched festival of the bizarre shot in the mirrored palaces and labyrinthine streets of Yemen, Nepal, Iran and Ethiopia. In conjunction with the Italian Cultural Institute’s photo exhibition Pasolini’s l’Oriente: Arabian Nights Through the Photographs of Roberto Villa, photographer Roberto Villa will introduce the screening of The Arabian Nights on March 23.

Pasolini’s extreme vision ended with what was to be his last film, Salò, or the 120 days of Sodom (1975), a legendary work of utter disgust and rage against a world distorted by the desire for power and privilege. Banned, censored and reviled the world over since its first release, the film is an unflinching tableau of degradation and humiliation based on The 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade, with the setting transposed to Mussolini’s miniature Fascist Republic of Salò in 1944. Other highlights include Teorema (1968), one of Pasolini’s most provocative and formally daring fusions of sex and the sacred staring Terence Stamp as an otherworldly visitor that serenely seduces and spiritually transforms each member of a wealthy Milanese household; The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964), Pasolini’s starkly beautiful and brutely physical rendering of the Biblical text has exerted an immeasurable influence on such directors as Martin Scorsese and Jean-Luc Godard; La Ricotta (1962), Pasolini’s cheerfully blasphemous short starring Orson Welles; and rare works such as Notes for an African Oresteia (1969-70), which follows Pasolini as he scouts locations and actors for a prospective version of Aeschylus’ tragedy to be set in then contemporary Uganda and Tanzania; and Pasolini & Giuseppe Bertolucci’s La Rabbia di Pasolini (1963/2008), a recent restoration and reconstruction of a political found-footage essay film by Pasolini that was censored and cut before its release due to its polemics.

Featuring 15 feature films and 6 short films presented almost entirely in new 35mm prints, several restored for the occasion, Pier Paolo Pasolini: The Poet of Contamination invites audiences to experience the stylistic experiments in Pasolini’s fiercely enduring and legendary cinema and the eternal beauty and emotional power of his work. TIFF Cinematheque is the sole Canadian venue for the North American tour of this rare and imperative event, running from March 8 to April 12.

In conjunction with TIFF Cinematheque’s retrospective, the Italian Cultural Institute hosts the exhibition Pasolini’s l’Oriente: Arabian Nights Through the Photographs of Roberto Villa, a selection of photographs shot by master Italian photographer Roberto Villa on the set of Pasolini’s The Arabian Nights. One of the most comprehensive photographic exhibitions ever devoted to the great Italian poet, writer and filmmaker Pasolini’s l’Oriente runs from March 11 to April 26 at the Italian Cultural Institute, 496 Huron Street, Toronto.

See below for complete schedule for Pier Paolo Pasolini: The Poet of Contamination at TIFF Cinematheque.

 

PIER PAOLO PASOLINI: THE POET OF CONTAMINATION

Luca Caminati on Mamma Roma

Approx. Duration: 2 hour 15 minutes

Luca Caminati, Italian cinema scholar and Associate Professor of Film Studies at Concordia University, opens the retrospective with this discussion of Pasolini’s representation of the urban landscape in Mamma Roma as exemplary of the director’s cinematic pastiche, which deploys the painterly tradition as a critique of the industrial modernization process in late 1950s Italy.

 

Mamma Roma

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini | Italy | 1962  | 105 min. | PG  | 35mm

Archival Print!

Anna Magnani gives a tour-de-force performance as an ex-prostitute whose class aspirations and unconditional love for her no-good son lead to tragic results.

Saturday, March 8 at 4 p.m.

 

Accattone

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini | Italy | 1961 | 116 min. | PG | 35mm

New 35mm Print!

As important a debut as any in film history, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s portrait of a scrounging thief struggling to survive in the netherworlds of Rome remains one of his most moving and powerful works.

Sunday, March 9 at 6 p.m.

Medea

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini | Italy/France/Germany | 1970 | 118 min. | PG | 35mm

New 35mm Print!

Opera legend Maria Callas brings fierce beauty and harrowing power to Pasolini’s version of Euripides’ tragedy.

Thursday, March 13 at 6:30 p.m.

 

The Gospel According to St. Matthew (Il vangelo secondo Matteo)

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini | Italy | 1964 | 137 min. | G | 35mm

New 35mm Print!

A surprise international hit that became a beloved classic of world cinema, Pasolini’s starkly beautiful and brutely physical rendering of the Biblical text has exerted an immeasurable influence on such directors as Martin Scorsese and Jean-Luc Godard.

Friday, March 14 at 6:30 p.m.

 

Teorema (Theorem)

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini | Italy | 1968 | 98 min. | 14A | 35mm

New 35mm Print!

An otherworldly visitor (Terence Stamp) serenely seduces and spiritually transforms each member of a wealthy Milanese household, in one of Pasolini’s most provocative and formally daring fusions of sex and the sacred.

Saturday, March 15 at 5 p.m.

 

Hawks and Sparrows (Uccellacci e uccellini)

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini | Italy | 1966 | 86 min. | 14A  | 35mm

New 35mm Print!

The great comedian Totò and Pasolini regular Ninetto Davoli star as a hapless father-and-son team who wander the roads of Italy in the company of a talking crow, in Pasolini’s marvellous Brechtian comedy.

Sunday, March 16 at 3 p.m.

 

Seeking Locations in Palestine for the Film The Gospel According to St. Matthew (Sopralluoghi in Palestina per il film Il vangelo secondo Matteo)

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini | Italy | 1964 | 52 min. | 14A | 35mm

New 35mm Print!

A highly personal, enlightening document of Pasolini’s search for landscapes and locations to use in The Gospel According to St. Matthew.

Followed by

Notes for an African Oresteia (Appunti per un’Orestiade Africana)

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini | Italy | 1970 | 63 min. | 14A | 35mm

New 35mm Print!

This rarely screened documentary follows Pasolini as he scouts locations and actors for his never-completed version of the classic Aeschylus tragedy, which he planned to set in contemporary Uganda and Tanzania.

Followed by

Walls of Sana’a (Le mura di Sana’a)

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini | Italy | 1971 | 13 min. | 14A | Digital

A ravishing documentary portrait of the Yemeni capital of Sana’a, which entranced Pasolini during the shoot of The Decameron and whose threatened old quarter he hoped to preserve by having it declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Tuesday, March 18 at 9 p.m.

The Decameron (Il Decameron)

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini | Italy | 1971 | 110 min. | R | 35mm

New 35mm Print!

Pasolini’s visually spectacular and juicily sacrilegious adaptation of Boccaccio’s Decameron inaugurated his joyous Trilogy of Life.

Friday, March 21 at 6:30 p.m.

 

The Canterbury Tales (Il racconti di Canterbury)

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini | Italy | 1972 | 110 min. | R | 35mm

New 35mm Print!

Pasolini himself plays Chaucer in this wild refashioning of the famous medieval text full to overflowing with rutting, ribaldry, and roistering.

Saturday, March 22 at 4 p.m.

 

The Arabian Nights introduced by Roberto Villa

Approx. Duration: 2 hour 38 minutes

In conjunction with the Italian Cultural Institute’s photo exhibition Pasolini’s l’Oriente: Arabian Nights Through the Photographs of Roberto Villa, photographer Roberto Villa introduces our screening of the concluding chapter of Pasolini’s Trilogy of Life.

The Arabian Nights (Il fiore delle mille e una note)

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini | Italy | 1974 | 129 min. | R | 35mm

New 35mm Print!

Shot on location in Yemen, Nepal, Iran and Ethiopia, the conclusion of Pasolini’s Trilogy of Life employs Scheherazade’s stories to explore the “idyllic sexuality” Pasolini sought in countries unsullied by European culture.

Sunday, March 23 at 3:30 p.m.

 

Love Meetings (Comizi d’amore)

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini | Italy | 1965 | 90 min. | 14A | 35mm

New 35mm Print!

Pasolini travels through Italy asking his country’s people about love, sex, divorce, homosexuality, marriage, prostitution and more in this landmark portrait of postwar Italian culture.

Tuesday, March 25 at 6:30 p.m.

 

Oedipus Rex (Edipo Re)

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini | Italy | 1967 | 110 min. | 14A | 35mm

New 35mm Print!

Filmed in the harsh, parched landscape of northern Morocco, Pasolini’s Oedipus Rex recasts the ancient Greek drama about the prince who kills his father, marries his mother, and blinds himself in contrition as a psychological “family romance” that owes as much to Freud as it does to Sophocles.

Sunday, March 30 at 6 p.m.

 

Primo Pasolini: Four Short Films

Approx. Duration: 99 min.

A quartet of Pasolini’s glorious short films, each made for one of the superstar-auteur “anthology films” that were a mania in sixties European cinema.

 

La ricotta

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini | Italy | 1962 | 35 min. | 14A  | 35mm

New 35mm Print!

Orson Welles stars in Pasolini’s cheerfully blasphemous short about the disastrous production of a would-be Biblical spectacular.

 

The Earth as Seen from the Moon (La terra vista della luna)

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini | Italy | 1966 | 30 min. | 14A | 35mm

New 35mm Print!

In this outlandish, surrealist fable, a dim-witted, green-haired boy-man (Ninetto Davoli) and his hapless, recently widowed dad (Totò) look for a new mother/wife, only to find their lives in the hands of a non-speaking Silvana Mangano.

What are the Clouds? (Che cosa sono le nuvole?)

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini | Italy | 1967 | 22 min. | 14A | 35mm

New 35mm Print!

Invoking Velázquez’s Las Meninas, this wild little film stars Totò, Ninetto Davoli, and Laura Betti as puppets acting out a most peculiar version of Othello.

The Paper Flower Sequence (La sequenza del fiore di carta)

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini | Italy | 1968 | 12 min. | 14A | Digital

Ninetto Davoli walks down the Via Nazionale, blissfully unaware of the sufferings of the world such as the bombing of Vietnam. Like the fig tree that Christ strikes down in March because it is not bearing fruit, the innocent is hardly at fault, though Pasolini states that “not to be aware is to be guilty.”

Saturday, April 5 at 5 p.m.

Porcile (Pigpen)

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini | Italy/France | 1969 | 99 min. | PG | 35mm

New 35mm Print!

A modern-day narrative of bourgeois bestiality is paralleled with the primeval tale of an unrepentant cannibal, in one of Pasolini’s most notorious and outrageous films.

Sunday, April 6 at 3 p.m.

La rabbia di Pasolini (The Rage of Pasolini)

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini, Giuseppe Bertolucci | Italy | 1963/2008 | 83 min. | 14A  | 35mm

New 35mm Print!

A restoration of Pasolini’s searing, long unavailable essay film, which offers the director’s probing and caustic commentary on celebrity culture, the Cold War, Italy’s postwar economic boom and the world’s rampant injustices.

Tuesday, April 8 at 6:30 p.m.

 

Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom (Salò o le 120 giornate di sodoma)

dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini | Italy/France | 1975 | 116 min. | R | 35mm

New 35mm Print!

Pasolini’s updating of the Marquis de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom to Mussolini’s short-lived Fascist republic of Salò in 1944 is one of the most harrowing and controversial films ever made.

Saturday, April 12 at 7 p.m.

TRAILERS

Mamma Roma http://www.criterion.com/films/375-mamma-roma

  1. Accattone http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xqxkc7_accattone-1961-official-trailer-masters-of-cinema_shortfilms
  2. Medea https://mubi.com/films/medea–2

The Gospel According to St. Matthew (Italian) https://mubi.com/films/the-gospel-according-to-st-matthew

Hawks and Sparrows http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8riUlf9dAaY

The Decameron https://mubi.com/films/the-decameron

  1. Porcile http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c22GE3ldZ3o

La rabbia di Pasolini http://rarovideousa.com/The-Anger-La-Rabbia

Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom http://www.criterion.com/films/532-salo-or-the-120-days-of-sodom

CLIPS

La ricotta (Italian) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNbjp6F7lx0

CAPSULE REVIEWS:

ARABIAN NIGHTS (Italy 1974) ****

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini

arabiannightsba

The film is the last of Pasolini’s “Trilogy of Life” which is based on the Arabic anthology The Book of One Thousand and One Nights”.  The main story concerns a young virgin man Nur-e-Din (newcomer Franco Merli) who falls deeply in love with his slave girl, Zamurrud (Ines Pellegrini).  Fate causes her to be stolen from him one night and he spends the rest of the film hunting her down.  She, however, escapes her captor and becomes King of a faraway Kingdom.  Several other romantic and saucy tales are nterwove into the story, tough not all comfortably.  When each of these tales end, the main one between the boy and the slave girl is kindled.  As in the other trilogy films, ARABIAN NIGHTS contains lots of humour, graphic violence (a demon chops off the limbs of his lover) and sex scenes (mostly heterosexual here) which makes the film distinct Pasolini.  The film won the Special Grand Prix at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival.

THE CANTERBURY TALES (Italy 1972) ****

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini

canterburytalesba

Based on the medieval poem by Geoffrey Chaucer, Pasolini shot these 8 tales in English featuring a few well-known English actors like Hugh Griffith (the first story) and Robin Askwith (later famous for his CONFESSIONS series of sex comedies).  Pasolini leaves his imprint, which means that the film contains lots of nudity, wry humour and slapstick as well as sex including sodomy.  The last tale is a bit much to swallow with devils farting out more little devils from the arse in hell but all this should be taken with a sense of humour.  His two most humorous tales, ‘the students and the miller’ and ‘Perkin the festive’ with a Chaplin-like character are the best of the lot. The film won the Silver Bear at the 22nd Berlin International Film Festival.

MAMMA ROMA (Italy 1962) ****
Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini

mammaromaba

An ex-prostitute, Mamma Roma (Anna Magnani in her best role), tries to start a new life selling vegetables with her 16-year-old son Ettore (Ettore Garofolo). When he later finds out that she was a prostitute, he succumbs to the dark side ending with the petty theft of a radio in a hospital and goes to prison.  This is a tragic tale of mother and son, mother wanting too much for her son while he just wanting to be left to his own devices. Pasolini’s film contains lots of homoerotic images like Ettore’s friend wrestling him to the ground and Ettore being strapped down to his underwear in the hospital.  Pasolini also captures the period, classes atmosphere and hopeless of is tale with clarity and emotion.

 PORCILE (PIGSTY) (Italy 1969) ****
Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini

porcileba

PORCILE is two paralleled stories intercut with each other.   The one set is the past tells the story of a young man (Pierre Clementi) who wanders around a volvano who ends up being caught after turning into a cannibal.  The second and more hilarious story is about two industrialists, Herr Klotz (Alberto Lionelli) and Kerdhitze (Ugo Tognazzi) solving is rivalry with each other while Klotz’s son (Jean-Pierre Leaud) has this odd obsession about pigs.  Both stories depict the downfall of society in one way or another and whether the two stories are linked is u to the viewer.  Pasolini’s stories are not only compelling to watch much outrageously funny at the same time.

LA RABBIA (RAGE) (Italy 1063) ***

Directed by Giovannin Guareschi and Pie Paolo Pasolini

rabbiaba

Using old footage, LA RABBIA is a political documentary that likely shows most accurately the soul of director Pasolini.  The film is a criticism of society as told by two intellectuals, directors Guareschi, a right winged Monarchist and Pasolini, a Communist militant.  The film is in two parts, each done by each director.  The classical musical enlivens the grim nature of the material, though there are bits of humour thrown in occasionally.  Each have their say, and though one may not agree fully with the ideals and principles, LA RABBIA illustrates the ‘rage’ of the film’s title at what the world has become or is becoming.

 

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