Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975) was an Italian Renaissance
man. Intellectual, artist, poet, writer and film director,
Pasolini's artistic versatility bought him great renown -
though his choice of subject matter and political connections
would lead to his death in mysterious circumstance, possibly
by the Mafia or the Italian Secret Service, in 1975, when
he was deliberately run over several times whilst in Ostia.
For those who are unaware of this expressive and influential
director, he formed part of the second wave of post war film
making, an ardent communist and anti capitalist; he formed
part of the second wave of neo-realism in Italian cinema.
Many of his films were censured by the authorities and Pasolini
seemed to revel in the scandal that much of his work created.
This box set provides three of the many available Pasolini
films. Although they represent the beginning of his career,
they are a good introduction to this influential artist.
Accatone (1961) caused a scandal on its release as
it treated its pimps and whores with some degree of humanism.
Set in the slums of Rome it tells the story of Vittorio who
prefers to be called Accatone (pimp), a source of pride for
him. When he falls in love he makes half-hearted attempts
to go straight, all of which come to nothing. Eventually,
he is killed in a bike crash whilst trying to escape from
the film was shot in a neo-realistic style, it is less of
a social document than a celebration of the characters fringe
culture. Pasolini was a great believer that consumerism would
eradicate much of the cultural diversity in the world, and
for anyone who has walked into a McDonalds anywhere from Moscow
to New York; he seems to have had a point.
The film is presented in black and white, stereo sounds and
only the original theatrical trailer as an extra. Of historical
note, Accatone also had Bernardo Bertolucci as assistant
RoGoPaG (1962) is an odd title until you know that
it stands for the initials of the four directors who contributed
to the film Rossellini, Godard, Pasolini and Gregoretti, each
of whom contributes a story.
La Ricotta, could have come straight out of Ricky Gervais's
Extras, as it tells the story of Stracci, a poor man
who is working as an extra on a film about the crucifixion.
His various antics to purloin free food become more absurd,
though ultimately too successful as he eats way too much and
expires from indigestion on the cross during the shooting
of the last scene.
As you can imagine the whole idea went down like a ton of
bricks with the authorities and the church, and he was given
a three month suspended sentence for 'an outrage against the
established religion'. The film stars Orson Wells as the director
and Pasolini's alter-ego.
Meetings (Comizi d'amore 1964) finds Pasolini in
a documentary mood. Unlike many documentaries the film has
a subject matter, rather than a cause, as Pasolini travels
around southern Italy inquiring about the cities sexual mores
and attitudes. As well as citizens of all social classes,
the film is punctuated by the appearance of psychoanalyst
Cesare Musatti and writer Alberto Moravia, who provide both
counter point and insightful commentary on the views expressed
by the ordinary citizens. A real window into a different time
and place, though there is some question over just how much
this tells us of the peoples real feelings, as they would
have been aware of the camera.
The film is presented in black and white, with a surprisingly
clean print, for its age. The subtitles are burned into the
print and are a size not to be too intrusive. Audio is stereo,
which is fine and the only extra is the original theatrical
Once again Tartan continues their quest to bring some of the
most influential European directors to DVD and for a first
box set, they seem to have done the memory of Pasolini proud.
Great films from a great director.