LUTHERAN LETTERS by Pier Paolo Pasolini


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Twelve years after his murder by a male prostitute, the outspoken director of The Gospel According to Matthew rages on in these vitriolic essays condemning modern Italian society. Aided by film-maker Hood's clear translation, Pasolini, who wrote several novels and a large body of poetry during his short life, here proves himself a scorching, unbridled polemicist. In these pieces, all composed the year prior to his death, he wages verbal war on three targets: the Christian Democrats (""corrupt, lazy incompetents"" whom he argues should be put on trial); the Communists, for their wholehearted co-option into consumerism; and, most shockingly and shrilly, Italian youth, for their enslavement to fashion (""the new generation is infinitely weaker, uglier, sadder, paler, more ill than all the preceding generations""; ""human garbage""). Although the subjects of Pasolini's wrath are provincial, his moral fervor has a seductive, universal appeal--he writes oratorically, pounding home his cadenced points--and his impassioned brand of white-hot Marxism compels even when, as so often, it descends to such below-the-belters as calling his detractors ""stupid, blind, mad dogs."" But finally Pasolini seems only pathetic, a 20th-century Cotton Mather whose conscience, excited to volcanic turbulence by the moral lassitude surrounding him, completely forgoes tolerance in favor of an explosive, all-consuming hatred. Fans of Pasolini's films will find little of interest here, and much cause for dismay; suitable fare for rabid Marxists only.

Pub Date: March 6th, 1987
Publisher: Carcanet--dist. by Harper & Row