Pier Paolo Pasolini

Il Decameron 7 January 06

Section: pasolini

Categories: Film / in-a-cinema

In college I had a couple of semesters of medieval and renaissance literature with a professor whose lectures were engaging. Reading Boccaccio’s Decameron, Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel opened my eyes to our humanness, to some thread of continuity of our needs and desires, connecting us to our predecessors over the thousands of years, and at the same time that many things we take for granted — romantic love, for example — were social inventions serving particular needs of a society in development, and that these things change.

Il Decameron

  • Title: Il Decameron
  • Directed by: Pier Paolo Pasolini
  • Writing credits: Giovanni Boccaccio (original novel), Pier Paolo Pasolini
  • Starring: Franco Citti, Ninetto Davoli, Jovan Jovanovic, Vincenzo Amato, Angela Luce, Giuseppe Zigaina, Gabriella Frankel, Vincenzo Cristo, Pier Paolo Pasolini (As Giotto), Giorgio Iovine, Salvatore Bilardo, Vincenzo Ferrigno, Luigi Seraponte, Antonio Diddio, Mirel
  • Year: 1971
  • Cinema: deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt

Porcile (The Pig Sty) 6 January 06

Section: pasolini

Categories: Film / in-a-cinema

A very funny and politically bold film with poetic and raw (as raw as flesh) dialogue sometimes cadenced and punctuated with a "hurrah!," usually by Jean-Pierre Léaud, like a cabaret theater, which draws attention — and a tension, like on the surface of a painting — to itself and keeps us conscious of the film: the opposite of escapist entertainment. The narrative takes place in Germany and involves elements of the bourgeoisie, including an industrialist who had been a Nazi during the war.

A good part of the film’s humor comes from the choice of names for the key characters, such as a Herr Klotz and Herr Herdhitze (Klotz usually means a block of wood and is related, via the Yiddish klots, to the English klutz; Herdhitze is a combination of the word Herd, meaning stove or hearth, and Hitze meaning heat, so: stove–heat). I can’t explain why Herdhitze was funny, it simply was, and increasingly so as Herr Herdhitze, with its alliteration, was repeated by some characters with the pathetic servility of those whose main joy in life is wallowing in their place within the status quo, in this pig sty, so to speak. On that list will be… all bourgeois politicians and most middle and upper managers. While trying to articulate the above I deepened my understanding of why the film is so amusing, it had humor in the sense of the release of a tension born of frustration at evil and stupidity. The humor is so stark and brazen, and at the expense of characters who so rightly deserve bearing its brunt, that it keeps on being funny.

  • Title: Porcile (The Pig Sty)
  • Directed by: Pier Paolo Pasolini
  • Writing credits: Pier Paolo Pasolini
  • Starring: Pierre Clémenti, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Alberto Lionello, Ugo Tognazzi, Anne Wiazemsky, Margarita Lozano, Marco Ferreri, Franco Citti, Ninetto Davoli
  • Cinematography: Tonino Delli Colli, Armando Nannuzzi, Giuseppe Ruzzolini
  • Year: 1969
  • Cinema: Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt

Teorema 4 January 06

Section: pasolini

Categories: Film / in-a-cinema

I love Pasolini. His gaze/camera: I can feel his feet rooted in the earth below him, which he wrenches as he moves. And he moves from his pelvis and gut, bound in muscle. Raw poet. Raw poetry.


theorem |ˈθēərəm; ˈθi(ə)r-|
noun Physics & Mathematics
a general proposition not self-evident but proved by a chain of reasoning; a truth established by means of accepted truths.
• a rule in algebra or other branches of mathematics expressed by symbols or formulae.
theorematic |ˌθēərəˈmatik; ˌθi(ə)rə-| adjective
ORIGIN mid 16th cent.: from French théorème, or via late Latin from Greek theōrēma ‘speculation, proposition,’ from theōrein ‘ look at,’ from theōros ‘ spectator.’ (Oxford Dictionary)

  • Title: Teorema
  • Directed by: Pier Paolo Pasolini
  • Writing credits: Pier Paolo Pasolini
  • Starring: Silvana Mangano, Terence Stamp, Massimo Girotti, Anne Wiazemsky, Laura Betti, Andrés José Cruz Soublette, Ninetto Davoli, Carlo De Mejo, Adele Cambria, Luigi Barbini, Giovanni Ivan Scratuglia, Alfonso Gatt
  • Year: 1968
  • Cinema: Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt
  • Further details: Italy, Italian, 105 minutes, Black and White and color