Pier Paolo Pasolini, little known in America, is probably Italy's most important postwar intellectual. One reason for his relative obscurity in the States is his use of so many different mediums of expression and his lack of a central, easily digestible idea. He is a welter of contradictions: a lifelong Communist who sported expensive suits and an Alfa Romeo; a cosmopolitan who championed a peasant dialect; a poet and a filmmaker; awarded prizes by the Catholic Church and arrested as a vile pornographer. Pasolini was always a provocateur and an iconoclast, caught between purity and puerility, scatology and eschatology. Openly flaunting his homosexuality, he confronted the fascistic morality of his time with an unflinching realism about the tragic perversions of life that pervaded the lurid Roman alleyways: hustlers and prostitutes, backstabbings and secret deals. Pasolini mired himself in that imbroglio of political and sexual intrigue, and suffered as a result.
The Life and Death of Pier Paolo Pasolini presents this complicated figure through interlaced biographical vignettes, the dates and locales of which are projected onto the backdrop. We watch Pasolini plead his case in several court appearances, overhear his t