The Passion of Reality: Documentary Film Retrospective of Pier Paolo Pasolini

Venue: Louis Koo Cinema, Hong Kong Arts Centre  
Date: 2022.12.01 - 2022.12.04
Price: HK$80 / HK$64* 

"The cinema is an explosion of my love for reality." - Pier Paolo Pasolini

To celebrate the centenary of his birth, the Hong Kong Arts Centre is proud to present the most comprehensive retrospective of documentaries by the late Pier Paolo Pasolini.

One of the most prolific intellectuals of his time, Pasolini was more than just a filmmaker; he was also a writer, a journalist, a visual artist, an actor and an activist whose persona was just as loud as his films. As much as his fictional films conveyed and reflected his internal dichotomies – namely a Marxist who also often looked to religion for inspiration – his documentaries offer much-needed insight into the mind of the man who created some of the most controversial films ever made. More importantly, they serve as companion pieces to Pasolini’s fictional films, reinterpreting his creative concerns in real world terms.

While Love Meetings reflected his passion for all things regarding sex, 12 December – produced for left-wing militant group Lotta Continua – and his half of The Anger saw Pasolini put his passion as a political activist front and centre. Location Hunting in Palestine offers a rare look at Pasolini in his element, searching for shooting locations in Palestine while his narration offers musings on the teachings of Christ and his thoughts on the land he is visiting. The programme even includes five short documentaries that were inspired by Pasolini’s writings, two of which are directed by the first Italian woman documentary filmmaker, Cecilia Mangini, showing Pasolini’s widespread influence on his fellow artists.

Tickets are now available on POPTICKET.hk.

 
 
 

Programme Schedule

1/12 (Thur)   7:45pm Love Meetings
2/12 (Fri) 7:45pm The Anger
3/12 (Sat) 3:00pm* Pasolini^
3/12 (Sat) 7:30pm Notes Towards an African Orestes & The Walls of Sana'a
4/12 (Sun) 4:00pm Location Hunting in Palestine, Still They Toll, Unknown to the City & The Motorbike Boy
4/12 (Sun) 7:30pm 12 December

*With after-screening seminar
^Pasolini has been rated as a category III film and can only be viewed by persons over the age of 18.

 

1/12 (Thu) 7:45pm

Love Meetings
Comizi D'amore

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Cast: Lello Bersani (Voice),, Alberto Moravia
Italy | 1964 | 92’ | In Italian with English subtitles | DCP | B&W

Pasolini puts on his journalist cap in this enlightening documentary, travelling across Italy with a microphone and a camera to interview strangers on the street about their views on sex, prostitution, homosexuality, divorce (which was illegal in Italy at the time) and everything else in between. The target is not only to capture existing opinions on matters surrounding sex, but also to reflect how attitudes can be challenged and gradually changed even in a country as traditional as Italy when the wave of sexual liberation reaches its shores.

Though Love Meetings plays out more like a time capsule nearly five decades after its release, it offers an intriguing insight into views on sexual taboos in other cultures. This engaging film truly gets interesting when the charismatic Pasolini begins to delve into how nationalism and religion intersect with sex.

PPP1

 

 

2/12 (Fri) 7:45pm

The Anger
La rabbia

Director: Giovannino Guareschi, Pier Paolo Pasolini
Cast: Giorgio Bassani (Voice), Renato Guttuso (Voice)
Italy | 1963 | 105’ | In Italian with English subtitles | Digital | B&W

Though both were generally acknowledged as intellectuals and “influencers” who were outcast by their contemporaries, Giovannino Guareschi and Pier Paolo Pasolini stood literally on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum. The former is a right-wing conservative monarchist, while the latter is a left-wing Marxist who believes in progressive values. In this two-part film, the men each use documentary footage and voiceover to express their respective answers for important existential questions.

A true example of political art, The Anger attempts to find common ground between two very different men, but the result merely becomes a reflection of the polarising ideologies that fractured Italy at the time. Praised by most as the superior section, Pasolini’s half elegantly and creatively presents his arguments with intelligence and grace. After decades of limited availability, the full version of the film has now been restored so viewers can make their own judgment.

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3/12 (Sat) 3:00pm*
*With after-screening seminar. Conducted in English.

Pasolini

Nomination
Golden Lion, Venice Film Festival 2014
Queer Lion, Venice Film Festival 2014

Director: Abel Ferrara
Cast: Willem Dafoe, Adriana Asti
Italy, France, Belgium | 2014 | 84’ | In English and Italian with Chinese and English subtitles | DCP | Color

It is the early 1970’s; Pier Paolo Pasolini had just finished Salo, which would later become his most divisive and controversial film. He has also become a social pariah for his sexuality and his loud public persona. Despite the objection of those closest to him, Pasolini pushes on with his new project while becoming increasingly distant from the press. Meanwhile, we see visualisations of Pasolini’s final projects, left unfinished due to his untimely death.  

A long-time admirer of who shares Pasolini’s penchant for creating provocative cinema, Abel Ferrara pays tribute to the late filmmaker with this unconventional biopic about the days before his murder, which remains unsolved today. Anchored by another excellent performance by the great Willem Dafoe, Ferrara’s defiantly untraditional and unsentimental depiction of Pasolini’s last days likely would’ve gotten the director’s seal of approval.

**Pasolini has been rated as a category III film and can only be viewed by persons over the age of 18.

 

Seminar on Pier Paolo Pasolini
Conducted in English. Admission by ticket.

Speakers:
Giorgio Biancorosso (Director, Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Department of Music, University of Hong Kong)
Derek Lam (Lecturer, Department of Comparative Literature, University of Hong Kong)

 

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3/12 (Sat) 7:30pm

Notes Towards an African Orestes
Appunti per un'Orestiade africana

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Cast: Gato Barbieri, Donald F. Moye
Italy | 1970 | 74’ | In Italian with English subtitles | DCP | B&W

In the late 1960’s, Pasolini had plans to adapt Aeschylus’s The Oresteia into a film. This documentary is a collage featuring snapshots of Pasolini’s attempt to make the film, capturing his location scouting trip in Africa, his casting process and a jazz group’s performance in Rome, all set to the filmmaker’s narration of his thoughts. The film’s key section is Pasolini’s meeting with a group of African students in the University of Rome, during which he expressed his vision and received honest feedback about the feasibility of the project. In the end, the film was never made.

More of a cinematic essay than a fleshed-out narrative, Pasolini’s third documentary on filmmaking is an honest portrayal about the uncertainties that plague a creative process. Though loose in structure, the film nevertheless offers essential insights into Pasolini’s mind, as well as proof that even geniuses can falter every once in a while.

 

The Walls of Sana’a
Le mura di Sana'a

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Cast: Pier Paolo Pasolini (Voice)
Italy | 1971 | 13’ | In Italian with English subtitles | Digital | Color

In October 1970, Pasolini filmed parts of The Decameron in the city of Sena’a in Yemen, one of the oldest cities in the world. Addressed to UNESCO, this short documentary features Pasolini’s footage of the gorgeous city and a convincing appeal from the filmmaker asking UNESCO to protect the city from development. The body accepted Pasolini’s appeal and declared Sana’a a World Heritage Site.

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4/12 (Sun) 4:00pm

Location Hunting in Palestine
Sopralluoghi in Palestina per il vangelo secondo Matteo

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Cast: don Andrea Carraro, Pier Paolo Pasolini
Italy | 1965 | 54’ | In Italian with English subtitles | Digital | B&W

In 1963, Pasolini travelled in Palestine in hopes that he could shoot his biblical epic The Gospel According to Matthew in actual historical locations. The film captures Pasolini’s trips through local villages and features Pasolini’s narration of his inner thoughts as he expresses his views on Christ and his growing disillusionment of the land he is visiting. Ultimately, it shows an artist facing the brutal truth that reality doesn’t always sync with an artist’s creative vision.

 

Still They Toll
Stendalì: Suonano ancora

Director: Cecilia Mangini
Writers: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Cecilia Mangini
Cast: Lilla Brignone
Italy | 1960 | 11’ | In Italian with English subtitles | Digital | Color

In post-war Italy, “Formula 10” films – documentaries that fit on a single 35mm film roll and made on a low budget – were popular among filmmakers as a way to express their views on social issues. Inspired by Pasolini’s novel Ragazzi di vita and featuring his lyrics, Cecilia Mangini’s avant-garde short film uses a funeral to show the traditions of Southern Italy, which have roots that go as deep as its days as a colony of ancient Greece.


Unknown to the City
Ignoti alla Città

Director: Cecilia Mangini
Writers: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Italy | 1958 | 12’ | In Italian with English subtitles | DCP | Color

Cecilia Mangini’s first film unflinchingly captures the lives of a group of young men who live in the poverty-stricken suburbs of Rome. Banned by censors at the time, this raw neorealist exposé of post-fascism life in Italy is accompanied by commentary written by Pasolini, who was Mangini’s friend at the time.


The Motorbike Boy
Il ragazzo motore

Director Paola Faloja
Writers: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Paola Faloja
Cast: Pier Paolo Pasolini (Voice)
Italy | 1967 | 12’ | In Italian with English subtitles | DCP | B&W

Paola Faloja’s short documentary about Rome suburban youths’ obsession with motorbikes was inspired an encounter that happened to Pasolini, which is narrated by the filmmaker himself in the opening scenes. The observational film then captures scenes of young men with their bikes in bike shops or dangerous street races that can turn lethal in a matter of seconds. This is a depiction of passion among dispirited youths who have little else to live for.  

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4/12 (Sun) 7:30pm

12 December
12 dicembre

Director: Giovanni Bonfanti, Pier Paolo Pasolini
Cast: Edoardo Di Giovanni, Marcello Gentili, Licia Pinelli
Italy | 1972 | 104’ | In Italian with English subtitles | DCP | B&W

On 12 December 1969, a bomb exploded at Piazza Fontana in Milan, killing 17 people. Anarchist activist Giuseppe Pinelli, one of the activists who were picked up for questioning by the police, fell from a police station after three days of interrogation. To raise awareness for the government’s campaign targeting left-wing groups, militant group Lotta Continua recruited Pasolini to direct this documentary tracing the turmoil that unfolded before and after the bombing.

Though initially uncredited to protect himself legally, Pasolini helped raise funding and worked closely with activist Giovanni Bonfanti to make this documentary out of his admiration for Lotta Continua’s cause. Featuring a heartbreaking interview with Pinelli’s family and amazing shots of protests at the time, this is a passionate and artfully crafted document of political and social turbulence that is an essential watch for contemporary history buffs.

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Co-Presenter: Hong Kong Arts Centre, Italian Cultural Institute Hong Kong & Macau

Supported by: Hong Kong International Film Festival

Associated programme: Italy-China Year of Culture and Tourism, Italia Mia

Supporter: eslite bookstore


Tickets are now available on POPTICKET.hk.

Ticket Prices

Screenings $80 / $64*

All Access Pass (one ticket each for all 6 programmes) – 30% off - $366 (service charge included)

 

*20% discount for tickets for full-time students, senior citizens aged 60 or above, and people with disabilities and the minder and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients. Concessionary ticket holders must produce evidence of their identity or age upon admission.

*20% discount to HKAC members and CineClub Patron / Classic. Ticket holders must present a valid membership card upon admission.

*20% discount for each purchase of 4 or more standard tickets.

*Group booking offer for each purchase of 20 or more tickets. For details, please refer to: https://bit.ly/3z3WUlN 

*Only one discount offer could be applied to each ticket purchase.

 


Programmes are subject to change without prior notice.

The following measures will be implemented for screenings, to combat the prevailing threat of Novel Coronavirus:

  • All audience must wear face masks and comply with the requirements and restrictions announced by the Government
  • No smoking, eating and drinking. Unauthorised photo-taking, audio and/or video recording is strictly forbidden
  • Staff have the right to deny the admission of any person with temperature higher than 37.5°C
 
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Jockey Club Atrium, G/F–4/F, Hong Kong Arts Centre  
2022.11.14 - 2022.12.11