As festival season winds up once more, there will be those films that over-shoot, those films that under-shoot, and those films that perfectly hit their mark. I cross my fingers that Abel Ferrara’s Pasolini will be one of the latter.
Willem Dafoe plays the Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini in Ferrara’s film. The film follows Pasolini’s final days prior to his murder in November 1975, when he was run over several times with his own car. A male prostitute later confessed to the murder, but then retracted his confession almost thirty years later, saying his family had been threatened and that Pasolini’s death was politically motivated. The director’s death remains shrouded in mystery, coming as it did as he finished Salo, or 120 Days of Sodom, a film that uses the Marquis de Sade’s notorious novel to discuss, among other things, Italian fascism. Ferrara’s film will address what happened that night, as well as elucidating Pasolini’s artistic and personal life as he visits family and friends.
Dafoe is perfect for the part of Pasolini, and the trailers draw out the beauty and mystery of the director’s life and death. The first trailer is entirely wordless, depending upon operatic music to convey a sensibility rather than any cohesive plot. Using mostly the same footage, the second trailer includes dialogue (in English, French, and Italian), which shows to good effect what we can expect from Dafoe’s performance. It is a tall order to make a good film about a great director, but I certainly hope that Ferrara and his cast were up to the task.
You can watch the two latest trailers for Pasolini below, and check out a batch of new photos (one of them is NSFW, so be warned).
Pasolini will premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 4, and Toronto on September 8. It finally comes stateside on October 2.