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Pasolini Season at BFI Southbank

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by Sandra Lawson (subscribe)
To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at and my theatre reviews at
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Pier Paolo Pasolini: Film Director, Marxist, Catholic
This two-month long retrospective will take place at the BFI Southbank throughout March and April. The Catholic Marxist philosopher, intellectual and film director, who died violently in 1975, worked as a teacher, actor, writer and poet before making his first film, Accatone in 1961.

This story of a Roman pimp was followed by Mamma Roma, in which Anna Magnani played a prostitute,

and then by The Gospel According to Saint Matthew.

Pasolini at the BFI
The Gospel According to Matthew (Image Courtesy of

Tony Rayns provides an introduction to the festival with his Pasolini's Cinema of Poetry. Other films to be screened during the first few weeks of the retrospective will include Love Meetings and Hawks and Sparrows.

The April timetable will include the story cycles of The Decameron and The Canterbury Tales, Medea starring Maria Callas

and Theorem featuring Terence Stamp, as well as the controversial and almost universally banned film Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom, which translated the Marquis de Sade to Fascist Italy during the final days of World War II.

In all most of Pasolini's entire oeuvre will be screened: the 13 feature films and the majority of the shorts and documentaries. The movies are all available on DVD, but this will offer a fascinating opportunity to watch them on the big screen and to engage with his politics, sexuality and homosexuality, as well as to examine the shift from his early involvement with neorealism through to the cinematic poetry that has influenced other film makers, including Bernardo Bertolucci.

Here is a brief subtitled interview with Pasolini.

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Why? To see a retrospective of films made by a fascinating Italian director who has been dead nearly 40 years
When: Throughout March and April
Where: BFI Southbank
Cost: Tickets start at £5
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