THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW
IL VANGELO SECONDO MATTEO
1964, Compass, 137 min, Italy, Dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini

Working from the perspective of “an unbeliever who has a nostalgia for a belief,” director Pier Paolo Pasolini shot this story of the life of Christ in a documentary style that lends his spare imagery a power that few Biblical spectaculars ever attain. Employing non-professional actors (Spanish economics student Enrique Irazoqui portrayed Jesus, a role for which Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg were reportedly considered) and dialogue drawn directly from Matthew’s text, the film effectively allies Jesus with the meek and poor in spirit, and his rejection of materialism was a theme Pasolini often championed. In Italian with English subtitles.


SALÒ, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM
SALÒ, O LE 120 GIORNATE DI SODOMA
1975, Park Circus/MGM, 117 min, Italy/France, Dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini

Be prepared, SALÒ is not for the weak of heart. The polar opposite of the "Trilogy of Life," SALÒ depicts with cold precision the sexual and psychological atrocities visited on 16 young men and women, held hostage by a group of depraved nobles at the end of WWII. Pasolini based the film on a notorious book by the Marquis de Sade, but shifted the locale to the town of Salo, where Pasolini’s brother was killed during the war (and where he himself was arrested by the Nazis). One of the most controversial and widely censored films ever made (it took over 25 years for the uncut version to screen in England), SALÒ has lost none of its power to shock and disturb. With Paolo Bonacelli, Giorgio Cataldi, Umberto Quintavalle. In Italian with English subtitles.


THE DECAMERON
1970, Park Circus/MGM, 111 min, Italy/France, Dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini

This bawdy comedy is among director Pier Paolo Pasolini's most popular films. Based on Giovanni Bocaccio’s classic novel, the first film in Pasolini’s "Trilogy of Life" established the raw, visceral feeling of the series, using gorgeous period locations and combining equal parts poetry, social satire, slapstick and sexuality into a unique living tapestry. Pasolini himself appears as a Renaissance artist, "one of Giotto’s best students," hired to paint an enormous fresco on the wall of a church. With Ninetto Davoli, Franco Citti, Angela Luce. In Italian with English subtitles.


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