Pasolini review – a handsome, oblique tribute to the great director

Abel Ferrara’s account of the last days of the Italian auteur, played by Willem Dafoe, is beautiful and enigmatic

“Narrative art is dead – we are in a period of mourning”; “To scandalise is a right, to be scandalised a pleasure”; “Refusal must be great, absolute, absurd…” Abel Ferrara’s infatuated tribute to Pier Paolo Pasolini is littered with such gnomic bon mots, which could apply equally to either director. Like Pasolini, Ferrara has courted both outrage and admiration; he made his name with The Driller Killer, and remains most celebrated for Bad Lieutenant, a film drenched in equal parts with Catholic ideology and censor-baiting exploitation.

This handsomely oblique film focuses on the very end of Pasolini’s life, as he completes work on Salò, Or the 120 Days of Sodom and makes plans for Porno-Teo-Kolossal, the unmade magnum opus which is here reimagined by Ferrara in startling, elegiac fashion. Willem Dafoe
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In fashion with Pasolini by Anne-Katrin Titze

No Exit for Pasolini star Willem Dafoe with director Abel Ferrara: "You know concentric circles." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Abel Ferrara's Pasolini stars a divine Willem Dafoe as Pier Paolo Pasolini, with Maria de Medeiros, Riccardo Scamarcio, Adriana Asti, Valerio Mastandrea and Giada Colagrande. Developed by Maurizio Braucci from an idea by Nicola Tranquillino and Ferrara, Pasolini begins and ends on one fatal day.

Willem Dafoe as Pier Paolo Pasolini: "It's one thing to show, it's another thing to do."

Dafoe recently starred in Anton Corbijn's A Most Wanted Man. I asked him if Lars von Trier's Antichrist and Martin Scorsese's Last Temptation Of Christ prepared him for Pasolini's final day. Ferrara told me what that means to him. Fashion, architecture, research, restaurants, apartments and the power of three, pushed our conversation into Abel Ferrara and Willem Dafoe's working relationship upon entering Pasolini's world.
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Pasolini | 2014 Tiff Review

The Gospel According to Pier: Ferrara Poetically Captures an Auteur’s Last Day on Earth

It appears that 2014 marks a resounding return for auteur Abel Ferrara, unleashing two new films comingled from actual noted events, both destined for diverse responses and uncompromising in their audacity. The first is, of course, the Strauss-Kahn film, Welcome to New York, which has already received a debilitated premiere after a botched release on the Cannes market (treated to an unwarranted, venomous response reeking of pretentious bias) and the Us distributor has come under direct fire from Ferrara for suggesting cuts—don’t listen to any of that drama and see it as soon as you’re able. The other title is Pasolini, reuniting Ferrara with Willem Dafoe to explore the last day in the life of the famed Italian auteur Pier Paolo Pasolini, who died on November 2, 1975, and whose murderer has never been found.
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Venice Film Review: ‘Pasolini’

Venice Film Review: ‘Pasolini’
But it’s doubtful whether he would have found much else to admire about “Pasolini,” Abel Ferrara’s confused collage of the poet-provocateur’s final days, despite Ferrara’s conceptually audacious intent to mirror the form of his unfinished, fragmented magnum opus, “Petrolio.” Even the stunt casting loses some of its sheen once the other actors open their mouths, since Ferrara surrounds Dafoe with a mostly Italian cast, relegating this fest-bait offering to ultra-niche status.

Though his influence on Hollywood was relatively negligible compared with that of his compatriots, Pier Paolo Pasolini remains the most important filmmaker Italy ever produced — a visionary who was only just beginning to test the boundaries of cinema when his life was brutally cut short. Debate still rages as to whether Pasolini, whose body was found crushed by the tires of his own car on a beach outside Rome in late 1975, was killed by a
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Venice unveils festival lineup

Venice unveils festival lineup
The 71st Venice Film Festival announced its lineup this morning, highlighted by films from American directors, including David Gordon Green, Barry Levinson, Peter Bogdanovich, Lisa Cholodenko, Andrew Niccol, and James Franco. As had been previously announced, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman, starring Michael Keaton and many others, will be the opening film when the festival begins on Aug. 27.

Click below for the entire list of 55 films playing in Venice.


The Cut, directed by Fatih Akin

Starring Tahar Rahim, Akin Gazi, Simon Abkarian, George Georgiou

A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence, directed by Roy Andersson

Starring Holger Andersson,
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‘Unforgivable’ a bizarre, enigmatic drama about paranoia


Directed by André Téchiné

Written by André Téchiné and Mehdi Ben Attia

France, 2011

There have certainly been worse cases of writer’s block, but the main character in the new French film Unforgivable really lets his spin out of control. Unforgivable, from co-writer and director André Téchiné, tells an almost Hitchcockian story of how paranoia can drive people to ridiculous lengths. Téchiné’s unique decision to let the script itself not be so single-minded is both a breath of fresh air and a bit of a detriment to the film’s overall impact.

André Dussolier plays Francis, a bestselling crime novelist who just can’t find the inspiration to push him forward in the writing process. Unable to focus in his homeland of France, Francis decides to move to Venice to re-commit to his latest work of fiction. While finding a place to stay, he becomes enamored with his real estate agent,
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Unforgivable (Impardonnables) | Review

Francis (Andre Dussolier) is an author of crime fiction who relocates to Venice in order to work on his next novel. He meets a younger woman, a real estate agent named Judith (Carole Bouquet), with whom he becomes instantly infatuated. Eventually, Judith gives in to Francis' advances; then, they marry and decide to live in a secluded house on Torcello Island. Unfortunately, Francis is unable to write whenever he is in love; and the writer's block redirects his overactive imagination towards obsessing about Judith's day-to-day activities. All the while, Francis' daughter (Mélanie Thierry) disappears with a bourgeois drug trafficker (Andrea Pergolesi). Francis hires a retired private detective (Adriana Asti) to track down his daughter and an ex-convict (Mauro Conte) to tail Judith.
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In Remembrance: Gore Vidal's Caligula

In Remembrance: Gore Vidal's Caligula
Famed author author, playwright and commentator Gore Vidal passed away today at the age of 86. The sharp-tongued author, known for novels such as "Burr" and "Breckinridge" and plays like "The Best Man," was a cultural giant during the 1960s and 1970s, habitually appearing on television to verbally spar with foes like Norman Mailer and William Buckley.

Known as a celebrity figure with a personality that rivaled Truman Capote, Vidal also worked on a number of screenplays, one of which became a cult classic --"Caligula." It was originally produced in 1979, but major disagreements between Vidal and the producer, Bob Guccione, led the former to distance himself from the project. But in 2005, artist and filmmaker Francesco Vezzoli sought to return the legacy of "Caligula" to its rightful owner, creating a a short film, titled "Trailer for the Remake of Gore Vidal's Caligula." In the faux-trailer, several Hollywood stars (including original "Caligula
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Unforgivable Movie Review

  • ShockYa
Unforgivable Movie Review
Title: Unforgivable (Impardonnables) Strand Releasing Reviewed for Shockya by Harvey Karten Director: André Téchiné Writers: André Téchiné, Mehdi Ben Attia, from Philippe Djian’s novel Cast: André Dussolier, Carole Bouquet, Mauro Conte, Adriana Asti, Mélanie Thierry, Andrea Pergolesi Screened at: Review 2, NYC, 6/12/12 Opens: June 29, 2012 You don’t need a degree in psychology or history to realize that the past is always with us. You can’t escape its impact. Its memory will leave with feeling of guilt but also haunting regressions of past loves: familial, platonic and romantic. If you’re a filmmaker, whether in the seat of the director or the writer, you need the skill to bring an [ Read More ]
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Film Feature: The 15th Annual EU Film Festival Arrives at Chicago’s Siskel Center

Chicago – One of the annual gems of the Chicago movie scene is the Siskel Film Center’s unmissable European Union Film Festival. It provides local movie buffs with the opportunity to sample some of the finest achievements in world cinema. For many of the festival selections, their EU appearance will function as their sole screening in the Windy City.

This year’s edition, running from March 2nd through the 29th, includes high profile films from world renowned filmmakers like Andrea Arnold (“Wuthering Heights”), Bruce Dumont (“Hors Satan”), Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon (“The Fairy”), Abdellatif Kechiche (“Black Venus”) and John Landis (“Burke & Hare”). Moviegoers will have the opportunity to see the latest work from some of the world’s most acclaimed and beloved actors, including Léa Seydoux (“Belle Épine”), Tahir Rahim (“Free Men”), Colm Meaney (“Parked”), Noomi Rapace (“Beyond”), Andy Serkis (“Burke & Hare”), Isabella Rossellini (“Late Bloomers”) and Ewan McGregor
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‘Impardonnables’, despite some admirable qualities, is a bit of a mess

Impardonnables (English title: Unforgivable)

Directed by André Téchiné

Written by André Téchiné and Mehdi Ben Attia

France, 2011

French director and screenwriter André Téchiné has had a long and illustrious career, earning critical acclaim for a great variety of films. His works date as far back as 1969, the year he released his debut, Aline s’en va. Among the common threads which tie in his works are the complicated interactions and strained relationships between his characters, who are continuously confronted with emotional challenges they would much rather not deal with. The wealth they sometimes possess is belittled in the face of various interpersonal hardships. Another is that he adapts almost exclusively original scripts, oftentimes playing a major role in the writing process. For Impardonnables, his latest feature film, the inspiration differs, for it is based on a novel of the same name from Philippe Dijan. Dealing with a vastly different screenwriting process,
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This week's new films

Armadillo (15)

(Janus Metz, 2010, Den) 105 mins

After last year's Restrepo, another fine documentary from the Afghanistan front line, bringing us closer than we'd like to a war we'd rather not think about. Again we track a tour of duty with its mix of boredom, adrenaline and futility, but the key differences here are that they're Danish soldiers (who seem a lot less uptight about access) and the camerawork is better than in most fictional war movies. As a result, we're brought right into the soldiers' lives, and pitched into the heart of battle when things really heat up.

Cold Fish (18)

(Sion Sono, 2010, Jap) Makoto Ashikawa, Denden, Mitsuru Fukikoshi. 146 mins

Not your average serial killer, this one's sociable, presentable and a big fish in the fishkeeping world – even if there's a grisly explanation for his success. As we follow a meek colleague drawn into his demented orbit, proceedings get uglier and messier,
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Before the Revolution – review

Bernardo Bertolucci's brilliant early film about political and emotional tensions in mid-60s Italy is still just as powerful as when it was first released, writes Peter Bradshaw

Bernardo Bertolucci's 1964 film was made when he was just 22 years old. With its freewheeling approach, its passion, its talkiness and cinephilia, it is unmistakably influenced by the French new wave. Yet it has a very Italian and distinctively patrician concern with Catholicism and Marxism. The title is taken from a remark from Talleyrand about life being sweet before the revolution; the sentiment is here applied with irony. Fabrizio (Francesco Barilli) is a well-to-do young man, troubled by the ethical demands of communism, and in angry revolt against his stultifying family. He begins a secret affair with his elegant, mercurial aunt Gina (Adriana Asti), a transgression that clarifies and intensifies his general discontent. Is this a pre-revolutionary mood? Or is this the revolution itself,
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