For the next two months, the Italian Cultural Institute presents an inspired film series centering on one of the most prolific and original thinkers in modern Italian history: Pier Paolo Pasolini. Known for his poetry, philosophy, political activism, and linguistic study, Pasolini was truly a multifaceted intellect. Working in a post-World War II film climate dominated by the Neorealist approach seen in films like The Bicycle Thief
or Rome, Open City
, Pasolini changed the direction of Italian filmmaking. With Pasolini's directorial debut, Accattone
(slang that can be roughly translated as neer-do-well or beggar), Pasolini subverted Neorealism and developed his own style. Featuring a pimp named Accattone, the film focuses on the bleak and depressed margins of Roman society, amid a den of hustlers, panhandlers, and drinkers. Notorious for its unrelenting darkness, Accattone's reception established the outsider reputation that would follow Pasolini throughout his career.
Time Out recently named Pasolini's last film, Saló, "the Most Controversial Film of All Time," but Porcile (Pigpen), a subtler and equally unnerving work, receives a rare screening during the series. The film (starring Jean-Pierre Léaud) consists of two stories taking place in different eras -- one featuring a patricidal cannibal, the second an ex-fascist pig fucker, with each torn to pieces by animals. And while Pasolini was known to work with nonactors, his films feature beautiful bodies and faces -- Ninetto Davoli, Sylvana Mangano, Anna Magnani, Anne Wiazemsky, and, of course, the catalytic and smoldering young Terence Stamp, who unleashes the desire and sexuality of a bourgeois household by merely passing through one in Teorema.
The Pier Paolo Pasolini Film Series screens every Tuesday through Oct. 2. Today's screening of RoGoPaG starts at 6:30 p.m.
Tuesdays. Starts: July 24. Continues through Oct. 2, 2007