“We’re coming from a point of a lot of respect. We dig [Pasolini’s] work, we dig everything about him. He’s essential viewing. His death, in 1975, was also kind of a very outrageous moment, all the bullshit surrounding, the killing. When it comes down to it, we were probably gearing up to make this movie from the moment we heard he was dead.”—Abel Ferrara in an interview with 1985Artists.
The last few years have not been kind to Abel Ferrara’s career if you’ve taken a close look, but the filmmaker has soldiered on regardless. Starting around 2007, films like “Go Go Tales” “Mulberry St,” “Napoli, Napoli, Napoli” and “Chelsea on the Rocks” either failed to receive North American distribution or what roll out plan was in place was rather minuscule (and good luck finding a copy of 2005’s “Mary” on DVD or VOD as well). None of it seems to matter to the Bronx-born filmmaker who, at 63, is working at what might be the fastest clip of his career.
In seven years he’s completed seven films. His most recent picture, “Welcome to New York” starring Gerard Depardieux, inspired by the Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair, is already finished (read our review here) and the previously completed picture, “Pasolini” is also complete and will make its worldwide debut at the Venice Film Festival come the end of the summer (it’ll also play at TIFF).
His lead, once again, is Willem Dafoe, an actor he has worked with three times, including 2011’s “4:44 Last Day on Earth” and “New Rose Hotel” in 1998 (Dafoe also appeared in the 2003 documentary about the filmmaker “Abel Ferrara Not Guilty“). In “Pasolini,” Dafoe plays the great Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini, the often shocking, transgressive and scatologicaldirector behind films like “The Decameron, “The Canterbury Tales,” and “Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom.”
The movie is a look at the final days of the filmmaker, and the confusion surrounding his death in 1975. Pasolini was murdered in an automobile attack, and Giuseppe Pelosi, a 17-year old hustler, admitted to the crime but later recanted on his story. Other theories have popped up over the years, but there’s been insufficient evidence to draw any concrete conclusions. Here’s the official synopsis:
One day, one life. Rome, the night of November 2nd 1975, the great Italian poet and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini is murdered. Pasolini is the symbol of an art that’s fighting against power. His writings are scandalous, his films are persecuted by the censors, many people love him and many hate him. The day of his death, Pasolini spends his last hours with his beloved mother and later on, with his dearest friends, before finally going out into the night in his Alfa Romeo in search of adventure in the Eternal City. At dawn, Pasolini is found dead on a beach in Ostia on the outskirts of the city. In a film dreamlike and visionary, a blend of reality and imagination, Abel Ferrara reconstructs the last day in the life of this great poet with frequent collaborator Willem Dafoe as Pier Paolo Pasolini.
Here’s the director’s statement:
In search of the death of the last poet
only to find the killer inside me
Sharpening his tools of ignorance on the
memories of never forgotten acts of
kindness in words and deeds,
ideas impossible to comprehend.
In a school in Casarsa I sit at my teacher’s feet
yearning then hearing the music of the waves
that wash the feet of the
messiah on the beach at Idroscalo,
those who weave their spell in silver are forever bound to the lithe body
of Giotto constantly in search of the creation of the winning goal
forever offside forever in the lead of the faithful of which I am one.
Premiering at the Venice Film Festival later this week, the movie runs a mere 87 minutes, and co-stars Riccardo Scamarcio, Ninetto Davoli, Valerio Mastandrea, Maria de Medeiros and Adriana Asti. The first clip, plus a few new photos, below. And check out the trailer that’s just been released in case you missed it.