Pier Paolo Pasolini Pages
in the World
United States of America

Pier Paolo Pasolini
A great Italian poet who remains alive
in our memory

Pier Paolo Pasolini (Bologna 1922-Roma 1975), is one of the greatest Italian writers of the 20th century; he was also devoted to the cinema. From the most intimate literature to the most popular cinema, Pasolini was a poet with a firm, clear mark on reality and everyday life.

"In general, my social life depends totally on what people are. I say "people" after due consideration, meaning what society is, people, the mass in the moment in which it comes existentially (or just visually) into contact with me. It is from this existential direct, concrete, dramatic, corporeal experience that all my ideological speeches come into light..."

Pasolini, with his political, civil and artistic engagement, had principally the aim of denouncing and impeding the cultural homologation and the anthropological mutation of Italian people. He dramatically recognized these two aspects in the growing consumerism, in the conditioning acted by the instrument of the mass media in the conditions of the urban lumpen proletariat. 

"This engagement at first coincided with a diffused hostility, that also revealed the cultural blindness of the man who has always tried to bar the way." 

"He arrested me, persecuted me, lynched me almost for two decades. A young man cannot know all these things... Perhaps I have had just the minimum of dignity that permitted me to widen the anguish of who waited every day for summons of the Court for years and years and he was afraid of looking in the kiosks not to read in the newspapers atracious, scandalous news about his person..."

The poet intensified progressively his interventions, always giving more incisiveness to his targets that became frightfully congrous, and thickening his group of friends (those political and cultural movements that needed his presence; all those people, who with him, wanted to talk beyond the deviant controversies or even the leading divergences) and of the enemies (the depositaries or the servants of a power that, at first despised him as an intellectual and homosexual confining him to the margins and then, understanding the useless effort to confine in a ghetto, he wanted to show the theeth).

"Neither friends, nor enemies will be able to remember him in the present, yet because his thought was always in becoming and it copped out of every scheme: he took the sap of life and he accepted the most horrible joke, he shared the heavy contradiction to get." 

"I always paid, I desperately was at the forefront of everything. I made a lot of mistakes, but surely I have no regrets. [...] I am insatiable of our life / because that is the one and only thing in the world that cannot be worn out".

Pasolini has often been called a "provocative witness" but this sublime malediction has not been directed by a narcissism of the poet and by the advertising fancy of an editor; in this sort of slogan there was an instinctive, immediate, almost skin-deep but deep,  implacable truth. 

"In the phrase ‘provocative witness’ there is a key element that illuminate not only Pasolini’s character, but also essentially his fundamental relationship with the collective, then there is the recording ‘in the heat of the moment’ of a rapid sensation yet to codify, that is just in the adjective ‘provocative’. You often risk legitimate purpose about a ‘public individual, and the competition to understand in advance the thoughts and the reactions facing every situation cannot be very lively. According to Pasolini, this game did not start; not for him, we could say only for him. This characteristic made him to win the adjective ‘provocative’, that is a dull but sincere judgement, it is disarming because everybody will be able to read it positively or negatively, according to the prefered perspective without grasping it really." 

"This man, this artist was killed in the night between 1st and 2nd November, 1975. Pier Paolo Pasolini stopped existing, and in his friends, enemies and friends-enemies’ speeches you fell, from then, in an heavy way, his lack, not to mention the lack of his character in the thankless epitaph given by the horrible crime, and in the too clouded and argued memory of the last dramatic moments of his life, that were gathered by people who were and those who were not, by  people who could or by those who wanted to be. Pasolini’s body was devoured by our society and our time: this is the nemesis that closes the apologue, as in an exhaustible fiction." 

"During all my life I have never exerted an act of violence, neither physical nor moral. Not because I am fanatically for no-violence. If this is a form of ideological, self-pressure, it is violence too. In my life I have never exerted any violence, neither physical nor moral, simply because I trusted to my nature, that is my culture..." 

Pier Paolo Pasolini’s work includes:
Poetry (in Italian and Friulan dialect) Poesie a Casara, 1942; (collected with other poetic compositions in La meglio gioventù, 1954); Le ceneri di Gramsci,1957; L’usignolo della chiesa cattolica,1958; La religione del mio tempo, 1961; Poesia in forma di rosa, 1964; Trasumanar e organizzar, 1971; La nuova gioventù, 1975. 

Fiction Ragazzi di vita, 1955; Una vita violenta, 1959; Il sogno di una cosa, 1962; Amado mio -  Atti impuri, 1962 (pubblicato 1982), Alì dagli Occhi Azzurri,1965; Teorema, 1968 and the unfinished, posthumous Petrolio, 1975. 

Critical essays Passione e ideologia, 1960; La poesia popolare italiana, 1960; Empirismo eretico, 1972; Lettere luterane, 1976, Le belle bandiere, 1977 («Il caos», 1960-1965), Descrizioni di descrizioni, 1979 («Tempo», 1972-1975), L'odore dell'India, Il portico della morte, Scritti corsari, posthumous, 1975. 

Scenarios Il Vangelo secondo Matteo, 1964; Uccellacci e uccellini, 1965; Edipo re, 1967; Medea, 1970; Il padre selvaggio, 1975. 

Theatre Calderón, 1973; Affabulazione, Pilade, published posthumouses, 1977; Porcile, Orgia, Bestia da stile, published posthumouses, 1979. 

Films Accattone, 1961; Mamma Roma, 1962; La ricotta, 1963; La rabbia, 1963; Comizi d'amore, 1963-64; Sopralluoghi in Palestina, 1963-64; Il Vangelo secondo Matteo, 1964; Uccellacci e uccellini, 1965; La terra vista dalla luna, 1966; Che cosa sono le nuvole, 1967;  Edipo re, 1967; Appunti per un film sull'India, 1967-68; Teorema, 1968; La sequenza del fiore di carta, 1968; Appunti per un'Orestiade africana, 1968-69; Porcile, 1969; Medea, 1970; Decameron, 1971; Le mura di Sana'a, 1970-71; I racconti di Canterbury, 1972; Il fiore delle Mille e una notte, 1974; Salò o le centoventi giornate di Sodoma, 1975.

Note The quotations in commas belong to the lawyer Guido Calvi, who sued for damages in the trial for Pier Paolo Pasolini's murder. The parts in boldface belong to Pasolini. These quotations are taken from AA.VV., Omicidio nella persona di Pasolini Pier Paolo, Kaos Edizioni, Milano 1992 (by courteous concession).

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