Before I get to the regular birthday post, I want to wish my little sister a happy fiftieth birthday today. We are almost as close in age as two siblings can be without being twins. Growing up, most people thought that she was the eldest because I was such a scrawny runt. But now I’m both taller and fatter, so who gets the last laugh, am I right?! So happy birthday Kim!
On this day in 1922, the great filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini was born. Many also consider him a great poet, but I have not read any of his work — even in translation. So I will forget about that for now. And sadly, I don’t know his film work all that well. This is primarily because I haven’t had access to it. In particular, I’ve long wanted to see his Oedipus Rex. Let me offer you just nine minutes from the film. It’s thrilling movie making. I especially like the use of back lighting to obscure the violence. But there is much to admire:
The only film of his that I’ve watched seriously and recently is, The Gospel According to St Matthew. I wrote about it recently, Pasolini’s Atheistic Tribute to Christianity. Pasolini was gay and a Marxist. As a result, he made perhaps the best film ever about the life of Jesus. He just sticks with the Gospel of Matthew. That’s an interesting choice. It is definitely the one I would choose. Given that it is the one with the Sermon on the Mount (much of the text of it is found here and there in Luke), it probably appeals to leftists like us. If you want to watch it — and I really recommend it — click over to my article and there is a full high-definition YouTube version of it.
In 1975, Pasolini was brutally murdered at the age of 53. Then his body was run over several times with a car and then burned. It appears it was some kind of an organized crime “hit.” Maybe he was the victim of some extortion. It really isn’t clear. He had been working very productively up to the end. So in addition to his death, we have missed out on what would almost certainly have been great work.
Happy birthday Pier Paolo Pasolini!