Pier Paolo Pasolini|
(March 5, 1922 - November 2, 1975) Italy
Film director and writer
Pasolini, born in Bologna and brought up in the rural area of Friuli, was an openly gay writer, poet, and film director. He was also an essayist, screenwriter, teacher, painter, and novelist.
In 1942 he published at his own expenses a volume of his poems, Poesie a Casarsa, Casarsa beingh his mother home town in the north-eastern region of Friuli, where the family used to take holidays. In 1943 Pasolini was briefly drafted into the army, but after the Allied liberation of southern Italy and the collapse of the fascist regime in September, he joined his mother in Friuli.
He completed his university studies and graduated in 1945. For the next five years he taught litrature at various schools, but did not get a stable job. He joined the Communist Party, which seemed to inherit the mantle of the Italian anti-fascist Resistance, and with it the chance to shape Italian society anew.
He pursued the sexual opportunities offered by Friulan adolescent street boys and peasants, who for Pasolini embodied both the innocence and sensuality of a subproletariat untainted by the strictures of bourgeois morality, having with them sex. But by October 1949 a local priest denounced him to the authorities and he was charged with corrupting minors and commiting obscene acts in public places. As a result Pasolini lost his job and was expelled from the Communist Party for "moral and political indegnity".
In the winter of 1949 Pasolini fled to Rome. The following year the prosecution failed for lack of evidence, but the Italian justice system was to hound Pasolini throughout his life (between 1950 and his death he was at the center of about thirty judicial proceedings).
Eking out an initially miserable living in Rome giving private lessons and proof-reading, Pasolini began to enter Rome's cultural circles and continued to write. He was more and more appreciated and some of his novels vere made into films that caused a sensation and made him famous.
In 1963, Pier Paolo met the great love of his life, Ninetto Davoli. Ninetto was then 15, the son of Calabrian peasants who'd moved to Rome, a skinny kid, "a madman, with soft and merry eyes, dressed like the Beatles . . . an innocent barbarian," as Pasolini wrote in a poem about their first encounter. Pier Paolo made Ninetto, who turned out to have real talent as a comic actor, the star of his 1966 film The Hawks and the Sparrows (a medieval fable about religion), opposite the great Italian character actor Toto.
Even though their sexual relations lasted only a few years, Ninetto continued to live with Pasolini and was his constant companion, as well as appearing in six more of his films. Even after Ninetto left Pasolini's home (kept by Pier Paolo's mother and female cousin) to get married and have children (in 1973, putting Pier Paolo into a profound depression), their deep friendship continued. And it was Ninetto, with whom Pier Paolo had dined the night of his murder, who, on behalf of the Pasolini family, went to Ostia the next day to identify the horribly battered corpse for the carabinieri as that of his mentor and friend.
Pasolini was murdered, possibly by a young hustler he had picked up at Rome central station, in night time, in a deserted wasteland near Ostia, Rome. After Pasolini's martyred remains were discovered later that day (left, Pasolini's corpse), Pino the Frog confessed to having killed him. As a minor, he was given only an eight-year sentence for the crime. But it is likely that the murder was a political setup.
Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom
His film work includes Oedipus Rex; the gay-themed Teorema (Theorem); his "Trilogy of Life" - The Decameron (based on Boccaccio's stories), The Canterbury Tales (based on Chaucer's classic book), and Arabian Nights; and the disturbing Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (based on the Marquis de Sade's novel, but depicting the fall of Fascism, containing scenes of graphically cruel sex and violence).