Directed by Abel Ferrara
We are with Pasolini during the last hours of his life, as he talks with his beloved family and friends, writes, gives a brutally honest interview, shares a meal with Ninetto Davoli, and cruises for the roughest rough trade in his gun-metal gray Alfa Romeo. Over the course of the action, Pasolini’s life and his art (represented by scenes from his films, his novel-in-progress Petrolio, and his projected film Porno-Teo-Kolossal) are constantly refracted and intermingled to the point where they become one.
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★★★★★ review by SilentDawn on Letterboxd
Thought Abel Ferrara couldn't rise above the intermingling sensuality and horror of New Rose Hotel, but his delicate, mournful portrait of Pier Paolo Pasolini captures the essence of a figure in a way not seen since...I don't know....Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters? Its dreamy mixture of poetry, interviews, conversation, and unseen material is evoked through tranquil editing and sold by Willem Dafoe's masterful performance. It concludes before any sense of satisfaction, only fitting considering the void left after his death. Just spectacular.
★★★★★ review by Eliecer Gaspar on Letterboxd
A day in a life. And I cannot stress the word day enough. Ferrara has not been this tender since 'R Xmas and the editing is almost as compact as New Rose Hotel's.
"This film isn't about Pasolini, it's about you, me, all of us as individuals who go about their lives. No one was probably more surprised about Pasolini's death than Pasolini." - Ferrara
★★★★★ review by Neil Bahadur on Letterboxd
Adding this to the list of movies that have brought me to tears, not because of sadness but because of beauty. My favorite film of the 21st century.
★★★★★ review by Neil Bahadur on Letterboxd
A monk-like serenity. There's no other film like it. I think people were expecting something like Salo (for some asinine reason) but it's actually a film much like The Decameron. Ferrara uses the conceit of making a film about the last day of a persons life as an opportunity to make a film about life, not death. Here's a movie about waking up to the morning light, about the patience of humility, about having the courage to embrace another as a friend the moment you meet them.
★★★★ review by Patrick Devitt on Letterboxd
Abel Ferrara has always been one of the most eye-opening filmmakers in my cinematic career. His stark realism struck me at a young age when I first watched Bad Lieuntenant at what was probably far too young of an age for me to be watching it at. Nonetheless, Ferrara is a filmmaker that I find myself to always enjoy on first go-around, but I always find his work to linger on with me especially well as time goes on.
Pasolini is something that is so rich and full of information that I haven't nearly began to unpack most of it 24 hours later. I have always considered Dafoe to be one of my favorite actors, so I was more than looking forwards to this. After I had watched this last night, I got carried away by watching countless interviews and footage of Pasolini. To say that Dafoe gives one of the most impressive performances of the decade here would be an immense understatement. Dafoe captures every nuance of who Pier Paolo Pasolini was with such elegance that it truly put me in a state of eternal awe while experiencing the wonders of Ferrara's latest.
There is this mysterious aspect of Ferrara's narrative that I am having a difficult time putting my finger on exactly what it is. There is an undeniable amount of foreshadowing to Pasolini's death all the way up until the end of the film, but there is more to it, which is what I am having trouble gathering. It's as if Ferrara is mirroring Pasolini's creative work as this stylistic undertone into the end of his life. There are so many shots of architecture in the film that resemble that of Pasolini's that I cannot help but conclude that Ferrara is trying to bridge Pasolini's work to the end of his life.
Ferrara approaches Pasolini's death just like any other scene in the film He doesn't make it out to be this grand event or even capitalize on the tragic death of Pasolini to draw out an emotional response from his viewers. Everything from start to finish feels genuinely authentic without every trying to garner any sort of emotional response from his viewers. It's as if Ferrara is making the film for Pasolini with no one else in mind. It's extraordinary.
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