DVD
Pasolini Box Set - Vol 1
Accatone, RoGoPaG & Love Meetings

Starring: Franco Citti, Orson Welles, France Pasut, Silvana Corsini and Paola Guidi
Tartan Video
RRP: 34.99
TVD3537
Certificate: 15
Available 26 February 2007


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 a robbery.

Although 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 director.

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.

Love 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 trailer.

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.

Charles Packer

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