PASOLINI PRESENTA/E VIDEO ESSAY:
The first cinematic appearance of Pasolini ends by his character’s death. The action is suspended for a few seconds by his negligently laid corpse (instanteus , surprisingly similar way as the Pasolini’s own corpse found in Ostia November 2 1975. He appears in fictional cinema for the last time in Canterbury Tales right after the episode of infernal visions. Pasolini/Chaucer with a smirk on his face is writing down the last words of his masterpiece. This is between these two ends where the metaphoric story about Pasolini’s life is extended in a series of filmic epiphanies.
One common denominator seems to link all these appearances, that is death and the beyond. In Il Gobbo Pasolini is a violent partisan who dies in a brawl. As a revolutionary priest in Requiescant he enigmatically appears both next to the corpses of shot bandits and in the final episode of retaliation of the undeservedly murdered. In Oedipus Rex he is a priest, a spokesman of people suffering from a deadly plague. In Decameron he plays a painter who is trying to put his vision of the beyond on the temple’s fresques; in a climax of the film a dreadful and majestic vision of The Last Judgement is being dreamt by the sleeping Pasolini-painter shot as if he was the Mantegna’s Dead Christ. Lastly, in Canterbury Tales his character documents people’s fates all of which meet in the beyond.
Pasolini seemed to pay much attention to extra fictional sense of his appearance in film. For example, Carlo Lizzani, the director of Requiescant, mentions that Pasolini was strict about the way of framing his character, which was supposed to be frontal and hieratic, relating to his concept of technical sacredness [sacralità tecnica]. Another instance of such attitude is the way Pasolini spoke about the last Totò’s framing in his film What are the clouds (1967-8). After metaphorical death of Totò’s character he is shot in close-up saying “Oh, heart-rending, marvelous beauty of creation!”. It is, at the same time, the last scene from the film and the very last words and appearance of Totò in his film career (he died a few days after film shooting). Pasolini often stressed with a lot of satisfaction that this final frame was an eternal gift to the late Totò.
Precisely in that time Pasolini started to appear in his own films. At first and then in the majority of his work it was limited to the visual side only – his voice was dubbed, used in film notes or in the introduction to Ricotta. It was only in his late film, Canterbury Tales, that he decided to use not just his physiognomy but also his voice. The very last cinematic appearance of Pasolini is his smiling cheering face saying with his own voice “Amen”.
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