Director and writer Mark Cousins creates a cinematic tribute to his hero Pier Paolo Pasolini
In 1975, the controversial auteur Pier Paolo Pasolini was murdered, smashed by a metal bar, set alight and run over repeatedly by his own car at a beach outside Rome. A young gigolo was arrested and apparently confessed to the crime, but in the forty years since, blame has been apportioned across the social spectrum – from Pasolini's political enemies and ex-lovers to those who hated his sublime films defying the conservative sexual and ideological morays of his time.
Director and curator Mark Cousins first saw a retrospective of Pasolini’s films at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. “They were unlike any movies I'd seen,” he says. “Vitriolic, vulgar, agog. They had excesses and vehement politics. I was excited. He shows that's it's right to try to hurl your emotions on screen, like Scorsese does, like Lars Von Trier does. His films show that painting and film have real affinities.”
In response to Pasolini’s work, Cousins has written a moving, emotive tribute to the filmmaker in the latest issue of Another Man. Tracking through his idol’s films and poetry, politics and physicality, ideals and projected dreams, there builds a portrait of an eternally eliding figure, whose work and eventual bloody end enacted a conviction defined in the director’s poem Diary, in which he pledges to never grow up, rather to "only stay true to the stupendous monotony of the mystery”. This energy is also found in Cousins’ short film Your Eyes Flashing Solemnly With Hate, a thrilling, throbbing ode to lust and life force, inspired by Pasolini’s work and story. The name is a line from a poem written by the New York Harlem poet Helene Johnson, but as Cousins explains: “Her line could have been written by Pasolini – that conjunction of solemnity and hatred.”