This is one of those ideas that screams with an odd kind of brilliance right from the start: Willem Dafoe is joining with Abel Ferrera for Pasolini, a biopic of the eponymous, incendiary political activist, novelist, and filmmaker.
Pier Paolo Pasonlini is most known in film circles for directing the triumphantly extreme Salò, 120 Days Of Sodom, which is one of those rare films that combines depraved sexual torture and poo-eating with hardcore social commentary and genuine literary merit***. Unfortunately Salò became an overwhelming punctuation mark on an intense life of work critiquing consumerist culture once the director was murdered shortly after the film’s completion.
Ferrera’s film will aim to tell the story of Pasolini’s last days on earth, which treads murky territory- the man was murdered under somewhat mysterious circumstances, with the young man convicted of running him over recanting his confession thirty years later. There’s some evidence an exchange with extortionists that had stolen reels from Salo may have gone wrong and led to his death.
Since his exploitation roots in Driller Killer and Ms. 45, Ferrera has worked continuously, making a huge statement in 1992 with the original Bad Lieutenant and continuing today- he has Welcome To New York with Gérard Depardieu in the can right now. This will be Ferrera’s fourth collaboration with Dafoe.
*** Salò also happens to be one of the first films I ever wrote about on CHUD, back in 2008, mostly poorly.