|Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975)
He was born in Bologna, traditionally the most left-wing of Italian cities, to the son of a soldier who became famous for having saved Mussolini's life.
Writing his first poems at age seven, his works were first published when he was 19. Very young, Pasolini would have belonged to the communist clubs of his town.
He was drafted in World War II, later imprisoned by the Germans, but managed to escape. After the war, he joined the Communist party, but was expelled two
years later on the grounds of his homosexuality, which he publicly declared on many occasions. At the time, a public declaration of being gay could cause scandal among
leftists as well. All the same, his world view remained essentially communist throughout his life.
His first novel, Ragazzi di Vita (1955), dealt with male prostitutes, pimps, and thieves, resulting in obscenity charges against him, the first of many instances where
his art caused him legal problems.
Accattone! (1961), his first movie, also about the Roman underworld, likewise brought him into conflict with conservatives, who demanded stricter censorship.
Strangely, supported by the Catholic Church, he directed the black-and-white The Gospel According To St. Matthew (1964), widely hailed the best cinematic adaptation
of the life of Jesus, performed by Enrique Irazoqui. While making the film, Pasolini vowed to direct it from the "believer's point of view," but later, upon viewing the completed
work, realized that he had expressed his own beliefs instead.
In Theorem (1968), starring Terence Stamp as a mysterious stranger, he depicted the sexual coming-apart of a bourgeois family (later to be repeated by Francois Ozon in Sitcom).
His murder is still now not completely explained: some contradictions in the declarations of Pelosi, a strange intervention by Italian secret services during the investigations, and some a lack of coherence of related documents during the different parts of the judicial procedures, brought some of Pasolini's friends (actress Laura Betti, a close friend, particularly) to suspect that this murder had somehow been commissioned. It is true, indeed,
that Pasolini, in the months just before his death, had seen many politicians, telling them that he was aware of certain crucial secrets.