Italian Film Festival


Info: Ferrara, Italy-France-Belgium, 2014, 84 mins, DCP

Language: In English, Italian, French with English subtitles

Director: Abel Ferrara

Cast: Willem Dafoe, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ninetto Davoli, Maria de Medeiros


  • Saturday January 9, 2016 - 7:00 pm
  • Wednesday January 13, 2016 - 1:00 pm
  • Thursday January 14, 2016 - 6:30 pm

“’To scandalise is a right; to be scandalised is a pleasure,’ says Pier Paolo Pasolini (Willem Dafoe) in the opening scene of Abel Ferrara’s Pasolini. Dafoe’s voice is measured, but his eyes are wide, as if they’re trying to drink in the whole world at once – and within 24 hours of this moment, the celebrated poet and director of Teorema, Accattone and Arabian Nights – will be dead. Lying face down on the beach near Ostia, he’s the victim of a roaming gang of thugs who catch him in the dunes with a young, male lover.

The film’s opening words are Pasolini’s, but it’s a credo that Ferrara – the director of Driller Killer, the original Bad Lieutenantand last year’s veiled Dominique Strauss-Kahn biopic, Welcome to New York – has hungrily lived by.

So perhaps the first of this biopic’s many beautiful shocks is that it has no appetite for scandal. The second is that it isn’t actually a biopic at all, but a patchwork of planes and angles from the final day of the director’s life. You come in expecting portraiture, but Ferrara gives you Cubist still life [….] Ferrara has come up with something pretty special here: a subtle, seductive, lamp-lit hymn to one artist’s talents from another in the process of rediscovering his own.” Robbie Colin, The Telegraph

“An intriguing, startlingly restrained and even cerebral piece of work from Ferrara, an unimpeachably serious homage, with an assured lead performance from Willem Dafoe – who does look uncannily like Pasolini.” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian