"But what¹s underneath it all? What is missing is a surgeon who has the courage to examine the tissue and declare: gentlemen, this is cancer, and it is not benign. What is cancer? It¹s something that changes all the cells, which causes them to grow in a haphazard manner, outside of any previous logic. Is a cancer patient who dreams the same healthy body that he had before nostalgic, even if before he was stupid and unlucky? Before the cancer, I mean. First of all, one would have to make quite an effort to re-establish the same image. I listen to all the politicians and their little formulas, and it drives me insane. They don¹t seem to know what country they are talking about; they are as distant as the Moon. And the same goes for the writers, sociologists and experts of all sorts."
-from Pasolini's final interview, conducted a few hours before he was murdered at the age of 53
Italian poet, filmmaker, essayist, utopian, provocateur and queer libertine, Pier Paolo Pasolini lived relentlessly in his quest to envision and produce a world where art never confirms but always wrenches new ways of living and desiring.
Part of me feels that any attempt to do justice to Pasolini's work would simply and silently replicate the work itself. Perhaps all we can do is situate the films, the poems, the essays, the life itself, in a specific historical conjuncture - 20th century Italy as it staggered from fascism to embattled republic including serious challenges from the PCI (Italian Communist Party) - and then allow them to do the talking. Pasolini brought all of his trenchant intelligence, tenderness, hatred and sincerity to bear on everything and anything that smacked of middle-class quietism. Born into a social milieu that primarily offered despair and isolation, Pasolini kicked against the pricks, staking ground to be abandoned as soon as comfort loomed. In Danger: A Pasolini Anthology is a choice and tight collection - ostensibly zeroed in on Pasolini's political musings and provocations. But to say that everything was political for Pasolini would be cliched and an understatement. If you find In Danger bracing and inspirational, please do yourself a favor and try to check out everything Pasolini touched (there are a decent handful of texts and DVDs in the MCL collection for starters).