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    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Sunday, December 01, 2019

    Pier Paolo Pasolini: Framed and Unframed


    Pier Paolo Pasolini Framed and Unframed:
    A Thinker for the Twenty-First Century

    Edited by Luca Peretti and Karen T. Raizen

    Bloomsbury (2019)
    273 pages - Hardback
    ISBN 978-101328893

    I will be reviewing this book for the journal "Studies in European Cinema" so I'm currently working my way through it, but there are a few points that might be of interest to readers of this blog that probably fall outside of the scope for the journal, so I thought I would mention them here instead.

    The various essays that comprise the book tackle Pasolini's poetry, novels and public statements as well as his films, so those wanting a more specific focus on Il vangelo secondo Matteo (The Gospel According to Matthew, 1964) and/or religious themes in Pasolini's cinema in general will probably be better getting hold of Naomi Greene's "Pier Paolo Pasolini : Cinema as Heresy" (1990). You can read my comments on that one here.

    There are some interesting mentions of Il vangelo however. Firstly, Ara H. Merjian mentions Pasolini's "legendary desire" to cast the 1950s American 'Beat' poet Jack Kerouac as Jesus (p.38), but this is not something I was cognisant of previously (though I must have come across it at some point). Merjian's chapter deals almost entirely with poetry - it contrasts Pasolini's with the works and experiences of the Beat Generation - so I can imagine it is something that is discussed in those circles quite a bit. The idea is interesting, particularly as Pasolini ultimately went for a neutral unknown actor rather than a "beatnik" whose mere presence may have alienated certain viewers. It's also an interesting example of the concept of "contamination" which I'm increasingly seeing as central to Pasolini's style. (There's a good chapter on the concept - pivotal for the book - by David Forgacs).

    Also interesting is a description of the rather striking cover from Peretti and Raizen's introduction: it's an image by French street artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest "a Pasolinian Pietà in which Pasolini holds a corpse of himself" (p.3). Ernest created numerous versions of this image around Rome some of which were subsequently tagged with graffiti - a symbol, perhaps, of the type of blurring of lines and contamination between high and low art that is typical of Pasolini's work and thinking.

    For those with a strong interest in Pasolini, so far this looks a good addition to a fairly considerable canon. I discussed many of these books and chapters back in May this year, but to summarise: in addition to Green, Pasolini's interviews with Oswald Stack take you direct to the man himself and the book is well worth a read. Meanwhile, "Pasolini Old and New" edited by Zygmunt G. Barański is one of the most cited works of analysis on Pasolini and contains several strong essays.

    This book (i.e. Peretti and Raizen's) is aimed far more at Pasolini's continuing emphasis more than forty years after his death. It's more in depth (obviously) than the chapters in more generic works, and coming from very different place from the other existing single volume works (at least those that I have read), so is probably aimed more at those seeking an in-depth and rounded appreciation of Pasolini rather than simply providing some quick wins for those looking to write about Il vangelo secondo Matteo. I'm very much looking forward to reading the rest of it.

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    Contents
    1. Introduction -  Luca Peretti and Karen T. Raizen
    2. Dirt and Order in Pasolini - David Forgacs

    Space/Otherness/Geography
    3. 'Howls from the Left': Pier Paolo Pasolini, Allen Ginsberg, and the Legacies of Beat America, Ara H. Merjian
    4. Filming Decolonization: Pasolini's Geopolitical Afterlife, Luca Caminati
    5. Voicing the Popular in "Appunti per un' Orestiade Africana", Karen T. Raizen
    6. "La rabbia": Pasolini's Color Ecstasy, Nicola Perugini and Francesco Zucconi
    7. Pier Paolo Pasolini's "La Nebbiosa": Teddy Boys and the Economic Miracle in Milan, Scott Budzynski
    8. The Loss of the Separated World: On Pasolini's Communism, Evan Calder Williams

    Time/Prophecy/Production
    9. Television, Neo-Capitalism, and Modernity: Pasolini on TV, Damiano Garofalo
    10. From Accattone to Profezia: Pier Paolo Pasolini and Productive Failure, Krzysztof Rowinski
    11. Pasolini and the Anthropocene, Karen Pinkus
    12. Pier Paolo Pasolini's Political Animism, Federico Luisetti

    Unframing Pasolini
    13a. Interview with Willem Dafoe: Pasolini embodied, (conducted by Maurizio Braucci)
    13b. Pasolini Undead, Robert S.C. Gordon
    13c. Pasolini Reloaded, Paola Bonifazio

    Bibliography
    List of Contributors

    Index

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