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Pier Paolo Pasolini

‘The singularity and importance of [Pier Paolo Pasolini’s] artistry lies largely in the protean, multimedial quality of his vision,’ Stephen Sartarelli rightly reminds us in this bilingual edition of Pasolini’s poetry. Nonetheless, to an Anglophone world Pasolini (1922–75) is best known as the rebellious and audacious director of such films as The Gospe ...

Near the end of a candid 1966 documentary portrait of Pier Paolo Pasolini shot in 1966 (and shown last year on SBS), the French critic Jean-André Fieschi casually asks the Italian director whether art is for his a ‘matter of life and death’. Pasolini – who up to this point has been discoursing urbanely on class, culture, cinema and language like a true public intellectual – is floored by the question. ‘This changes the whole basis of our discussion,’ he declares, and goes on to confess that everything he has previously said is a mere mask hiding his actual, primal, angst-ridden feelings about life, death and survival. Unmasked as a trembling existentialist, Pasolini announces that the interview is over. And there Fieschi’s film abruptly ends.

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