Some artists meet bloody ends, others falter and a blessed few improve with age. Let’s file Abel Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant) in the latter camp. The American director defies good taste, defies good sense, and flirts with disaster on a regular basis. But Pasolini stands as one of his best.
Pier Paolo Pasolini was an outspoken Marxist intellectual and a filmmaker of rare, taboo-busting talent. Ferrara clearly views the Italian as a kindred spirit, and his lush, reverent drama charts the director’s final 24 hours, winding towards a fateful rendezvous on the outskirts of Rome. Willem Dafoe is ideally cast as the great director, a raw-boned panther in the prime of his life, padding around his book-lined apartment and receiving guests with a quiet courtesy. Yet Pasolini’s existence turns out to be rigidly compartmentalised. Each evening he prowls for rent boys on the streets beside the station.
Despite its volatile subject matter, Pasolini is cool and composed, a work of startling maturity. It’s profane and it’s precious and it glows like the moon.
With the support of the Italian Cultural Institute
Please note that the festival is over 18s only