Tribute to Pier Paolo Pasolini
a multimedia solo concert
Pier Paolo Pasolini 5 March 1922 – 2 November 1975) was an Italian poet, film director, writer, screenwriter, actor and playwright. He is considered one of the defining public intellectuals in 20th-century Italian history, influential both as an artist and a political figure.A controversial personality due to his straightforward style, Pasolini’s legacy remains contentious. Openly gay while also a vocal advocate for heritage language revival, cultural conservatism, and Christian values in his youth, Pasolini instead became an avowed Marxist shortly after the end of World War II he began voicing extremely harsh criticism of Italian petty bourgeoisie and what he saw as the Americanization, cultural degeneration, and greed-driven consumerism taking over Italian culture.As a filmmaker, Pasolini often juxtaposed socio-political polemics with an extremely graphic and critical examination of taboo sexual matters. A prominent protagonist of the Roman intellectual scene during the post-war era, Pasolini became an established and major figure in European literature and cinema. Pasolini’s unsolved and extremely brutal abduction, torture, and murder at Ostia in November 1975 prompted an outcry in Italy, where it continues to be a matter of heated debate.
Andrea Centazzo’s compositional work has always drawn from the source of literary and poetic inspiration, but it is above all from his encounter with Pasolini’s poetry, novels and movies that Centazzo has drawn inspiration for some works that rightfully place him among the innovators of the contemporary musical language. With Pasolini, Centazzo shares birthplaces, migratory experiences, studies, exile and inspirations, linked to that land of his poor childhood, but full of pathos that was post-war Friuli. “Homage to Pier Paolo Pasolini” for orchestra saw the light on the tenth anniversary of the poet’s death, while “Rain on the Borders” also for orchestra was commissioned from the artist for the twentieth anniversary of the poet’s death. In this solo percussion Pasolini multimedia project Centazzo brings to the public a new stage of his work The songs are presented to the public together with video images shot by himself and clips from Pier Paolo’s films, on which music with archaic and magical echoes is synchronized. Centazzo’s music escapes any definition, balanced as it is between genres: minimalism, European avant-garde and ethnic reminiscences.
DEATH OF A POET
Pier Paolo Pasolini was tragically assassinated on November 2, 1975. Found dead on a beach near Rome, he had been brutally beaten and run over by his own car. The circumstances surrounding his death remain the subject of speculation and conspiracy theories, with some suggesting a political motive. Despite the passage of time, the mystery of Pasolini’s assassination continues to captivate and intrigue. This composition presents images from the police archives, from Italian TV News (murder location, funeral, trial in court) and photos of the poet.
The award winning video film Tiare (in Friulan language “homeland”) was shot in Friuli (homeland of Pasolini and Centazzo) and edited by Andrea Centazzo in 1984 and it was his first attempt as video maliker. Surprisingly the film won awards all over the world and was praised because the evident inspiration from the film work of Pasolini. Here a part of that video is presented, where the common people, so dear to Pasolini, is revealed in front of the camera in a “post” neorealistic style.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW
The Gospel According To Matthew is a 1964 epic biblical drama film in the Italian neorealist style. It is a cinematic rendition of the story of Jesus according to the Gospel of Matthew, from the Nativity through the Resurrection. In the neorealist tradition, the film utilizes a cast of non-professional actors, and is filmed entirely on-location throughout Southern Italy. The film is considered a classic of world cinema and the neorealist genre. The film is also a tribute from Pier Paolo to his mother Susanna (appearing in the movie as Maria old) and images of her church frescos and photos appear in this video.
THE WALLS OF SANA’A
The capital of Yemen, the city of Sana’a, holds an important part of history within its walls filled with medieval architecture and culture. But that same culture was about to disappear with the country’s modernization which came after the civil war in the 1960’s. To impeach such modern invasion, director Pasolini pledges to UNESCO for the recognition of Sana’a as a World Heritage Site.
After going through a civil war in the 1960’s, Yemen was no longer what it used to be, cities were destroyed and rebuilt in modern ways. Centuries of history and the famous medieval architecture of the place could disappear anytime if it wasn’t for the efforts of historians and many other people and efforts like this movie made by Pasolini. The battle succeed, but only in 1986 and unfortunately the director wasn’t here long enough to see it.
MEDEA OEDIPUS REX
The film Medea is based on the ancient myth of Medea. It stars the celebrated opera singer Maria Callas in her only film role. The film is largely a faithful portrayal of the myth of Jason and the Argonauts and the events of Euripides’ play The Medea. The film represents an adversarial piece of art from the director who loved to challenge society. The film is “a love song to Maria Callas”. Pasolini’s dramatic and adverse personality is very much alive in this film which depicts Medea’s murder of her husband, children and her husband’s lover.
Edipus Rex: Pasolini adapted the screenplay from the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex written by Sophocles in 428 BC. The film was mainly shot in Morocco. It was Pasolini’s first feature-length color film. The film’s style is intentionally ahistorical and uses various cultural motifs to create an other worldly environment. The actors are Italian and Berber, the film is shot in Morocco and the costumes are also heavily stylized with medieval knight helmets and broad-brimmed straw hats and top hats fitted with wings. Pasolini begins and ends the film in 1920s Italy in what he calls an act of Freudian Sublimation.
ACCATTONE MAMMA ROMA
Mixed with images from winter in Casarsa (hometown of the young Pasolini) this last chapter present two masterpieces of the Italian Neorealism. Accattone was Pasolini’s first film as a director. In 2008, the film was included on the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage’s 100 Italian films to be saved, In a seedy section of Rome, Vittorio “Accattone” lives off the avails of prostitution, Maddalena being his only girl. He generally hangs out with his similarly-slack friends, playing cards and drinking. Franco Citti, the character of Accattone, perfectly embodies the roman lumpenproletariat of the time: idle, fatalistic and desperate. Franco tbecame Pasolini’s dialectical adviser for Accattone, Mamma Roma. Indeed, Pasolini interests for dialects and slangs (Roman is not really a dialect anymore but a slang) was not disappointed. The dialogues between the characters are full of fantasy: rude and in some way reminiscent of their peasant past.
In Mamma Roma, with a fervent yearning for respectability and enough money to buy herself a brand-new life in Rome, the uninhibited, fearless, determined former streetwalker Mamma Roma renounces her ignominious past to reunite with her loafing 16-year-old son Ettore. Free at last from her pimp, Roma is bent on making an honest living running a humble vegetable stall, but a malicious extortion scheme and the equally insidious menace of exposure threaten to put an end to her zealous aspirations for a decent bourgeois existence. At the film’s premiere (Rome, 22nd September 1962), Pasolini was attacked by fascists who protested against the film.
All music by Andrea Centazzo 2023©
All videos shot and edited by Andrea Centazzo 2023©