PASOLINI REQUIEM by Barth David Schwartz


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The bad-taste life of a relentless sexual and political rebel and ever-scandalous bad boy of Italian cinema and the arts. Depending on your sexual and artistic likes, this behemoth will be a riveting or overwhelmingly tiresome experience. Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-75) was a loose cannon even among his chosen brotherhood of gays: Though daily he played his homosexuality out to its most dangerous limit, he fought against gay rights, saying that to give gays political strength is to castrate their nonconformity and weaken their need to slap society on its cheek. A Marxist, he upbraided the Communist Party whenever it threatened to conform or to play footsie with the Church. An atheist, he made what may remain the starkest, most truth-seeking life of Christ ever filmed, The Gospel According to Sa Matthew. He was, in short, a creature of bitter contradictions and focused on being contradictory and unacceptable. According to first-time author Schwartz, at the heart of the man and the artist lay a white-hot, molten mother-love, returned twofold by Susanna, his mother. Throughout adult life and despite his obsessed nightly search for a complaisant adolescent, Pasolini was ever under his mother's roof. She waited up, and he adored and sanctified her. Having worked up a reputation as a notorious poet/essayist/novelist, be began his film career as a scenarist for Fellini and Bolognini, then graduated to directing. His filmmaking falls into three periods, with a startling turn from antisocial subjects to a trilogy of erotic medieval classics that Pasolini thought the most subversive of his works in that they showed the common summer-warmth lost by sterile present-day society. Encyclopedic, microscopic portrait of a lean and thin-lipped narcissist, murdered by a 17-year-old thug he was paying to service.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1992
Page count: 736pp
Publisher: Pantheon