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This article is taken from PN Review 8, Volume 5 Number 4, July - September 1979.

Epitaph for Pasolini Marcelin Pleynet

[From Art et Littérature, coll. Tel Quel, Editions du Seuil, Paris, 1977, pp.55-57.]

translated by Grahame White

WHETHER AS novelist, poet, essayist or film-maker Pasolini was never an avant-garde artist in the formal sense. As he freely admitted: "I have been unable to come to terms with this new Italy which has emerged during the past decade, but which seems hardly one year old: Italy is already in 1964 while I'm still in 1954, along with the rest of the marxists, still enmeshed in the passionate debates of times gone by." (Nouvelle poésie en forme de rose); "I adopted the style of the Old Testament using neo-twentieth-century film techniques . . ." (ibid.). From Accatone (1961) onwards, most of his films received wide public acclaim-an acclaim fortunately interlaced with a dynamic undercurrent of scandal. In fact, even if Pasolini's work is not stylistically avant-garde, it is nevertheless "modern" enough or "up to date" enough to merit all the scandal which it arouses. Whilst openly acknowledging that he chiefly owed his fame to his cinematic work, Pasolini continually emphasized the stylistic importance of language in his films, underlining the significantly "poetic"; factor in his work: "Il Cinema di Poesia [The Cinema of Poetry] is thus essentially founded upon the exercise of style as inspiration, which in most cases is sincerely poetic." (From Cahiers du cinéma, Oct. 1965.) Here Pasolini pinpoints and emphasizes the specific quality of the themes he treats, which according to him, are rooted ...

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