Saturday, 11 October 2014

Pasolini: You Have Killed Me

Early in the morning of November 2 1975, in Idroscalo, a shanty town outside Rome, the 53-year-old Italian film-maker and writer Pier Paolo Pasolini was found beaten beyond recognition and run over by his own Alfa Romeo. Twelve hours later, Giuseppi Pelosi, a 17-year-old rent boy, confessed to the killing. Yet almost 40 years on, the known facts of the murder still form no coherent picture, and the case remains open.

Abel Ferrara’s new film, Pasolini, starring Willem Dafoe in the lead role, chronicles the last two days of the Italian director’s life. Mingling a documentary verismo style with dreamlike images, the film grips like a thriller, yet leaves the circumstances surrounding the murder as murky as ever. “I don’t care too much who killed Pasolini, only that he was killed,” says Ferrara, a straight-talking, expletive-happy New Yorker. “Whoever it was behind the wheel of that f---ing Alfa Romeo – did he intentionally roll over Pasolini? Who knows? It was dark, man, the headlamps might have been off.

“It’s not as if an American director like me is going to uncover the truth of what happened 40 years ago. I’m no detective. The tragedy is that Pasolini was in the prime of his creative life – a passionate, compassionate man lost to the world.” ...


But was this notorious Italian gay communist bumped off by L'Uomo? *

This film director clearly hasn't the foggiest...

November 2, 1975 – the final day of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s life as he awaits certain fury over Salo. In this artist-to-artist love letter, Abel Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant) casts a sublime Willem Dafoe to play Pasolini in the hours prior to his brutal murder. It’s a death that has aroused suspicion and controversy, but Ferrara neither investigates nor accuses. Instead he celebrates fearlessness, creativity and a sharp mind, dramatising the unproduced screenplay that shows Pasolini’s undimmed urge to provoke, Porno-Teo-Kolossal (lesbians and gay men have an orgy of procreation as the hero seeks Jesus’ birthplace). He also recreates Pasolini’s final interview about disruptive art and politics where he commented, with unwitting prescience, ‘given the life I lead, I pay a price... it’s like a descent into hell. But when I come back – if I come back – I’ve seen other things’.

You may also enjoy this documentary, Whoever Tells The Truth Shall Die.

PS 'Pasolini is meeee!', You Have Killed Me, Morrissey.

* ie The Man. 


  1. Oh excellent, I had no idea about this, thanks (I get emails from the BFI but I never read them).
    Willem Dafoe has a legendarily enormous dong. It's bigger than the rest of his body.

  2. Headlights. No American would even know what 'headlamps' were. How much of this interview was also faked?