- Directed by: Abel Ferrara
- With: Willem Dafoe, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ninetto Davoli
- 86 Minutes
Willem Dafoe, the man who was already the Green Goblin and Charlotte Gainsbourg’s “voodoo doll” in Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist, plays one of the most important Italian filmmakers in history, known for his political remarks and for iconic movies that express his will of change and his feelings and one of a kind imagination… Representing Pier Paolo Pasolini is in my opinion a huge challenge for any actor… The way Pasolini saw movies as a way to tell his opinions and disregards on fascist politics and as a way to escape a ruthless and greedy world is a huge challenge for any actor and after watching this movie and after witnessing Pasolini’s work of art with Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma, his last feature film released after his mysterious death, I must say that Willem Dafoe’s performance was quite good.
After returning from a long trip, Pier Paolo is asked to answer some questions from several Italian media who want to know everything about his up-coming movie, Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma, that mixes Italian fascism of Benito Mussolini with the violent novel written by Marquis de Sade. Pier Paolo shows no regards while speaking with the journalists about Italy’s political situation, which can be seen as a sign of bravery since he was one of the few man taking a stand against Mussolini’s politics. The way he made his movies was enjoyed by most of the Europeans and each of his movies was acknowledge as some sort of masterpiece. So for a man who places himself in a situation like this, danger is constantly surrounding him… Abel Ferrara’s Pasolini follows the last day of the Italian filmmaker in a controversial vision filled with love, betrayal and politics, not suitable for the more susceptible minds.
Willem Dafoe is one of those actors, whose performances are amazingly compelling and who is always capable of surprising every moviegoer… As Pier Paolo, Willem faced a tough challenge since the man was one of the most important figures from Italian cinema and thankfully he did a good job. When Dafoe is on screen, everything shines and looks natural… The lovely way he treated the ones who were close to him and the honest and brave way he dealt with the journalists in the interviews (there’s one scene dedicated exclusively to one interview in which he mentions how bad the situation of Italy is from his perspective and it’s simply amazing to see him interacting with the journalist) captured my attention in a way I was probably expecting because there wasn’t, in my opinion, a better man to play this role. However, when Dafoe is not in the screen, things stop looking good and the dark atmosphere of the movie gets lost in the middle of all this and all of a sudden, Pasolini fails to impress its viewers.
The way cinema was lived in those days and the way Pasolini impressed everyone with almost unbelievable stories that revealed mankind’s worst aspects amazed me a lot and I also liked the way Ferrara managed to tell everyone Pier Paolo’s intentions with Salò (some scenes of the movie that reveal nudity and sexual exploitation are shown). During the movie, Pier Paolo is preparing what in his opinion could be his greatest movie; about a man’s journey chasing a star which would lead him to discover some of the biggest treasures of our world and during those moments the viewers are invited to see how unique he was in his way of storytelling. Pasolini represents one of the existing theories about Pasolini’s death, related with young male prostitutes.
Perhaps I was expecting something close to extraordinary or perhaps I was simply not in the mood for something like Pasolini but every single time Dafoe was not on screen, the movie was weaker and unable to represent Pier Paolo’s story in a natural way. Dafoe does an impressive performance which is like the best element of the movie….So when you gather that with the presence of some elements like the political commentaries and the screening of Salò, Pasolini can be seen as a quite interesting film that tries to capture the essence of Pier Paolo. However, Ferrara tried too hard to impress the viewers and some of the most violent moments of the movie seem a bit unnecessary… Pasolini has lots of potential and can be seen as one of this year’s most controversial movies. The last day of the Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini is represented in a natural and shocking way that isn’t suitable for most of the moviegoers… A movie that demands to be seen only by those who enjoy Willem Dafoe and by those who admire (event if it’s just a little bit) the work and the bravery of Pier Paolo, who was constantly challenging censorship and fascism because in his mind nothing matters the most than the freedom of expression and because in the end, it’s all about politics…