Pasolini Requiem

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9780394577449: Pasolini Requiem

An incisive portrait of the Italian cinematic and literary genius traces the career of Pier Paolo Pasolini from his childhood, through his development as an artist, to his 1975 murder--allegedly at the hands of a young male prostitute.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Grand in scope and rich in detail, this ambitious biography reconstructs the turbulent life and times of Pier Paolo Pasolini, the Italian novelist (A Violent Life), poet and filmmaker who continually jousted with society's conventions. Mining Italian sources and incorporating Pasolini's own writings, Scientific American contributor Schwartz sets the stage with an absorbing account of Pasolini's 1975 murder at the hands of a male hustler, a type of character he had long celebrated in his work. Though some may find it daunting, Schwartz's prodigious research lucidly shows how Pasolini's primordial ... preconscious link between politics and sexuality manifested itself as he avoided Fascism, sought an individualistic communism and used the nourishment of scorn to push himself to intellectual clarity. Pasolini wrote stories of the poor as he focused on postwar Rome, but in the 1960s he saw the burgeoning Italian cinema as the most powerful medium in which to represent reality. The subject of 33 legal actions against his writing and films, Pasolini became most famous for being scandalous, but Schwartz shows how explicit films such as Decameron (a surprise 1971 hit in the U.S.) grew out of the auteur's moral and political obsessions.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

This much-needed biography of one of modern Italy's towering intellectual figures combines vital data, refresher glimpses at recent Italian history, and analysis of public reaction to his many gadfly polemics. During the 30 years of his productive life, this "reactionary of the Left" was in the spotlight; whether as poet, critic, filmmaker, or novelist, his message was not to console. Thus, in his film Salo , members of the haute monde dine on their own excrement; Pasolini is telling us in his inimitable way that consumer society will end up consuming the fruit of its own uselessness. An unwavering homosexual taken to court 33 times yet never found guilty, Pasolini had typically complex views on homosexuality. Probably because he needed alienation to be creative, he had no interest in organizations to promote individual liberation. Schwartz starts the book with the gripping details of Pasolini's murder and at the finale returns to chronicle the tragic recidivism of the 17-year-old murderer. Recommended for all literary collections.
- Jack Shreve, Allegany Community Coll., Cumberland, Md.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Barth David Schwartz
Published by Pantheon (1992)
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