Not to long ago, I came across an interesting article. Regarding weather or not Salo should be considered essential viewing for film buffs. As I have mentioned more than once, I feel it should be. It’s not only one of the greatest art house films ever made, but an honest look at consumerism and Italy’s fascist past. Many of the films shots are set up in an almost voyeuristic fashion, forcing the viewer to confront the ugliness of reality. Although it’s this film he is most remembered for, there was so much more to this man. A brilliant writer and poet, he also generated a great deal of controversy. He was unapologetic, outspoken, and used film to express his views on the world he lived in.
He was openly gay, a communist who applauded the lives of commoner. He saw beauty and gracefulness, where so many would only see poverty and hopelessness. An avid opponent of consumerism, he firmly believed that technology was nothing more than a prison. His films reflect that.
In one of his most famous works The Gospel According To Saint Matthew, Pasolini defied convention. Depicting the Virgin Mary as plain looking, Shot on inexpensive black and white film, it’s beauty lies in it’s simplicity. Although well received, many critics couldn’t understand why a communist would make such a film. Pasolini, never one to be silent, stated that the story of the gospel was a source of inspiration.
In this clip from an old Italian television show, he bravely defends his art. One cannot helped but me moved by his sincerity, passion, and dedication..
In films such as Porcile, he did battle with his two greatest enemies; the church, and fascism. It seemed there was no force in the world he was afraid to take on. Himself, someone who had lived under Mussolini’s regime, knew all to well the dangers that this type of government would bring. Whatever might have been going on inside his mind, it certainly wasn’t fear or complacency.
In this day and age, it seems harder to find filmmakers who have these qualities and dedication. Although many of his attributes live on in filmmakers such as Lars Von Trier, It seems this man was a shooting star. A one-of-a-kind persona, who’s films will always serve as a legacy to speaking out against a cold modern world and injustice.