Nov 21, 2010

Ostia (1988)

Pier Paolo Pasolini was certainly one of the greatest and most authentically innovating filmmakers to ever live. Like Jean Cocteau before him, Pasolini was a poet who used film as a more sensual outlet for his obsessions and vices, resulting in auteur cinematic works like no director before or after him. I recently discovered the short film Ostia directed by Julian Cole, a micro piece of subversive sinema that follows Pasolini on his last night before he was murdered under very mysterious circumstances. Who better to play Pasolini in the film than gay British auteur Derek Jarman? Like Pasolini, Jarman would also die tragically in circumstances revolving around his vice of buggery. The official story is that Pasolini was murdered on the beach of Ostia by a young proletarian prostitute, who ran over the Italian poet repeatedly with his own car. The film Ostia asks the question of whether or not Pasolini foresaw his own death. With Pasolini’s last film being Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom (the best film a director could end their career and life with), I am sure the Italian Renaissance man expected his life to end poetically with a bloody and climatic conclusion. After all, Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom is largely a film about the degradation of the human body, a lifelong pursuit of Pasolini and also the manner in which he would die. 

In Ostia, Pasolini states, “I’ll never have peace, never” as he cruises for young proletarians in the most slimy area of town. Director Julian Cole seems to borrow a few cues from Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising and Fassbinder’s Querelle when exhibiting this seedy devil’s playground of semen. Pasolini felt he would never have peace but his own climatic death would give him his final release. Like fellow Guido Marxist auteur filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci, Pasolini’s interest in the working-class seems to be mainly influenced by the proletariat’s sexual potency as expressed in Ostia. After all, the working-class is where Pasolini found the gigolos he was most fond of. During Ostia, after noticing the young male prostitute he picked up is watching a fight on TV, Pasolini comments about how it’s just a bunch of old men paying young men to beat each other up. In response, the young gigolo, irked by Pasolini’s arrogance, responds that it is not so much different from what he does. Pasolini’s hypocrisy becomes most evident during this scene as he is a capitalist (who freely buys men and wine) yet preaches the bad opiate-based gospel of atheistic Talmudic economist Karl Marx. Only by death at the hands of the exploited prostitute, can Pasolini be genuinely Sainted as a true believer of Marxist materialism. 

Although a flawed film, Ostia is a brief yet respectable portrayal of Pier Paolo Pasolini in his final hours. The most glaring negative aspect of the film is that it is British, but one couldn’t possibly expect any Italian filmmaker to pay respectful justice to Pasolini, for they would have probably made an exploitation film as a gross insult to a director who was misunderstood in his own country (like many great artists are). The world will probably never know the real circumstances surrounding Pasolini’s death. Thirty years after it happened, Giuseppe Pelosi, the prostitute that confessed to the murder of Pier Paolo Pasolini, retracted his confession claiming it was three men who killed Pasolini because he was Communist. This makes one wonder whether or not the killers were students of the great Sicilian Baron Julius Evola, for he did inspire “right-wing” terrorism throughout Italy. If one thing is for sure, it was a gay communist atheist that directed the best film about the life of Jesus Christ; Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew. Like Christ, Pasolini died for his own sins, not the sins of others, God Bless his gay Commie soul. 

-Ty E

1 comment:

jervaise brooke hamster said...