Pasolini is remembered as one of the most radical filmmakers in film history, however, before making his first film in 1961, he was a journalist, novelist, poet and political commentator, so his cinema had a strong influence on these trades, at least in its beginnings.
Understanding Pasolini through his cinema can become complex, many of his compositions, were created from famous paintings and sculptures, and many of his narratives have lyrical allegories, no two films in his filmography that resemble each other .
Today would be the 98th anniversary of the legendary Italian director, Pier Paolo Pasolini and to remember it, we leave you a top five movies that you should not miss in his filmography.
Mamma Roma (1962)
It is a film with a marked post-neo-liberal style, and a tribute to the great emblem director of neorralism, Roberto Rossellini. Frequently, Pasolini based his visual compositions on religious paintings and one of the most iconic in his career is when at the end of “Mamma Roma” evokes Mantegna’s painting, “Lamentation over the dead Christ.” The comparison he makes between the death of Christ and the struggle of the working class is the key image to try to understand his career as a whole.
Oedipus Re (Oedipus Rex) (1967)
It is the most poetic film of the artist and perhaps the most personal. The film is totally based on the text of Sophocles, however, the material is treated with great objectivity, creating a semiotic tension with the structuralist tendencies of the director. Pasolini’s work is located in 1922, telling the story of Oedipus and the same pasolini in modern times. The director revealed that he had a complicated relationship with his father and called the film a “Metaphorical Autobiography.”
Uccellacci e uccellini (The hawks and the birds) (1966)
It is an approach of the Italian director to comedy, with elements of Bertolt Brecht, Charlie Chaplin and Luis Buñuel, in addition to the English style of the farce throughout the film, although the ideological concerns of the filmmaker are also present, illustrated with a talking raven whose cynical ravings indicate the loss of Pasolini’s faith in the Marxist revolution in Italy.
I racconti di Canterbury (The Canterbury Tales) (1972)
The second film of his “Trilogy of life”, which are considered his least political work, although his vision of sex, love and the human body are as incisive as in his most ideological work. The extravagant production design marks a total departure from its post-neo-liberal phase, but the magnified details give indications of Pasolini’s romantic tendencies.
Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (Saló or the 120 days of Sodom) (1975)
It is the most famous film of the director and perhaps one of the most controversial in the history of cinema. It is a vast allegorical and heavily politically charged story about a group of children who are subject to mental and sexual torture after World War II. In addition to being the director’s last work, it would also be the work that cost him his life, since that same year he was killed. For a long time there has been speculation about the relationship of his murder with the publication of the film.