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The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents a MFAH Film: Pier Paolo Pasolini Retrospective.Each fall, the MFAH hosts a celebration of Italian cinema. These retrospectives feature restored 35mm film prints from the archive of Rome’s legendary Cinecittà, presented in partnership with the Italian Consul General of Houston, the Institute of Italian Culture in Los Angeles, and generous local sponsors and community partners.For 2013 the MFAH joins a national U.S. tour to reconsider the singular vision of Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922–1975). The Houston screenings are presented in partnership with Rice Cinema, where Pasolini’s "Trilogy of Life" films screen October 4–6.All films are directed by Pasolini and presented in Italian with English subtitles. Film descriptions provided by MFAH Films summer intern, Sara Balabanlilar.“The meaning of Pasolini remains undecipherable, ambiguous, suspended. A lapsed Catholic who never lost his religious worldview and a lifelong Marxist who was expelled from the Communist Party for being gay, Pasolini was an artist and thinker who tried not to resolve his contradictions but rather to embody them fully. With his gift for polemics and taste for scandal, he was routinely hauled up on blasphemy and obscenity charges and attacked by those on the left and the right.” —New York TimesShort Films 2
Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
1970-1974, in Italian with English subtitles
35mmNOTES FOR AN AFRICAN ORESTEIA / APPUNTI PER UN’ORESTIADE AFRICANA (1970, 73 min., in Italian with English subtitles) Although the African Oresteia film itself was never created, this footage was gleaned from searches for locations and visual motifs on site in Africa, which Pasolini felt had reached a similar turning point to Argos at the time of Orestes. The film features a soundtrack by jazz legend Gato Barbieri. Pasolini said, “In my Appunti, one passes from a barbarous world, still prey to Eumenides, to a world that is marching toward socialism.”THE WALLS OF SANA’A / LE MURA DI SANA’A (1971-74, 13 min., in Italian) This short film was created with the sense of an appeal to UNESCO: Pasolini fell in love with Yemen’s capital city of Sana’a while making The Decameron, but saw the results of rapid construction and the chaotic path toward consumerism. In Sana’a, Pasolini attacks the idea of progress that has no historical context.
This retrospective has been organized in partnership with Luce Cinecittà, Rome (Camilla Cormanni and Paola Ruggiero) and Fondo Pier Paolo Pasolini/Cineteca di Bologna (Roberto Chiesi). It is presented in association with the Ministry of Culture of Italy. This event is part of the celebrations of the Year of the Italian Culture in the United States.