• Pasolini (Kino Lorber) Blu-ray Review

    Pasolini (Kino Lorber) Blu-ray Review
    Released by: Kino Lorber
    Released on: September 17th, 2019.
    Director: Abel Ferrara
    Cast: Willem Dafoe, Ninetto Davoli, Riccardo Scamarcio, Adrian Asti, Giada Colagrande
    Year: 2014
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    Pasolini – Movie Review:

    Directed by Abel Ferrara and released in 2014, Pasolini is, as you might imagine, a film about famed artist and magnet for controversy, Pier Paolo Pasolini, played in the film by Willem Dafoe. The film takes place in the man’s last few days, just as Salò, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom, is about to be released and just before he is really able to start on his next projects.

    The narrative opens with Pasolini talking to an interviewer as clips from Salo play in the background about his political beliefs. From there, Pasolini’s narration notes that although there may be similarities to his own int to a character in a book he’s written, he finds this character reprehensible. We then see the character give a few men oral sex in a park late at night. As the narrative plays out, we see Pasolini live his life – his mother (Adrian Asti) gets him out of bed, his cousin Graziella Chiarcossi (Giada Colagrande) serves him breakfast. His assistant shows up and lets him know what’s on the agenda, before friend Laura Betti (Maria de Medeiros) shows up to talk about her trip to Eastern Europe.

    While this is going on, we see portions of the book acted out as well as ideas for a new film that Pasolini was working on, wherein Epifanio (Ninetto Davoli) and Ninetto Davoli (Riccardo Scamarcio) go on a quest of sorts and wind up at a strange mating ceremony hidden away in the confines of a city where homosexuals and lesbians mate together for one night of the year to help with procreation. Then, after Pasolini finishes up his final interview for the day, he heads out into the night in search of some male companionship.

    While the details surrounding the circumstances behind Pasolini’s murder remain foggy at best, Ferrara’s film takes things in its own direction in that regard, offering a theory as to what happened that would seem to be as valid as any of the others. The way that the film is structured is interesting. Ferrara does his audience will know more about Pasolini than most will, but even those not so familiar with the man’s life and work will be rewarded for paying attention as what first seems a little tough to follow is actually tied up quite nicely by the time the movie finishes. Ferrara’s intent here, which he goes over in the extras, was not to create a typical bio-pic but to take a look at the last days of his life and pay tribute to the man and his work. On that level, the film succeeds. The cinematography is frequently gorgeous, there is some excellent camera work here, and the score and use of pop music in the film is handled very well. The movie looks and sounds fantastic, and on a technical level, it’s quite impressive.

    As to the acting? Dafoe is an excellent choice for play the lead in this picture. It’s a little odd in that he doesn’t ever really speak Italian while most of the characters around him break in and out of it or only speak it, but once you get used to this aspect of the movie, it’s fine and Dafoe really does excel in the part. He bears enough of a resemblance to the actual Pasolini that he looks the part, and he’s definitely got the acting chops to pull this off. Supporting work from Adrian Asti (who some may recognize from Tinto Brass' Caligula), Giada Colagrande and Maria De Medeiros is strong across the board and it's interesting to see Ninetto Davoli (who appeared in many of Pasolini’s films and was at one point romantically involved with him) play Epifiano and to see Riccardo Scamarcio play Ninetto Davoli!

    Pasolini – DVD Review:

    Kino Lorber brings Pasolini to Blu-ray with the feature taking up 27GBs of space on the 50GB disc. The AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer is framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and it looks excellent. Colors are reproduced perfectly and we get nice, deep black levels as well. Detail is very impressive, even in the film’s many darker scenes, and compression artifacts are thankfully held in check here too. There are no problems with any noticeable noise reduction or edge enhancement and the image is almost completely devoid of print damage (every once in a while, if you’re looking for it you might notice the odd tiny white speck, otherwise it’s flawless in that regard).

    24-bit DTS-HD options are available in 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 options, both are the same mix of Italian and English language. Subtitles are included that translate only select passages of the Italian dialogue into English as well as those same selections of Italian language passages and all of the English language into English. The 5.1 track is the best of the two options. This isn’t an effects-heavy track but the 5.1 mix does a nice job of spreading out the music and certain ambient effects, like the background noise in a restaurant. The track is balanced nice and free of any hiss or distortion.

    The best extra on the disc is a twenty-two-minute conversation between Abel Ferrara and Willem Dafoe about their thoughts on Pasolini, the origins of the project, how it started as a more traditional bio-pic, how they became familiar and influenced by the late artist’s work and quite a bit more. It’s an intelligent and thoughtful piece that’s worth checking out that also offers a glimpse into the motives behind the making of the film.

    Also, on hand is a six-minute assemblage of behind the scenes footage and a trailer for the feature as well as menus and chapter selection. Included inside the Blu-ray keepcase alongside the disc is a full color insert booklet containing an excellent essay on the film from Brad Stevens, the author of Abel Ferrara: The Moral Vision as well as credits for the feature.

    Pasolini – The Final Word:

    Pasolini isn’t going to appeal to those who want a standard bio-pic, it’s too abstract for that to really work, but it is an artistically challenging and, at times, beautifully made film featuring some great work from Dafoe and the rest of the cast. Kino’s Blu-ray release is excellent, presenting this unique picture with a beautiful presentation and some nice extra features as well.

    Click on the images below for full-sized Pasolini screen caps!