Pier Paolo Pasolini was born on March 5, 1922 in Bologna, Italy. He began writing poems at age seven, his works were first published when he was 19. While still very young, Pasolini joined the communist clubs of his town. After the World 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), was 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 as the best cinematic adaptation of the life of Jesus. Later movies centered on sex-laden folklore, such as “Arabian Nights” (1974) and Boccaccio's “The Decameron” (1970). His final work, “Salò” (1975), because of its scenes of intensely sado-masochistic graphic violence that went far beyond what most movie-goers could stomach at the time, continues to be his most controversial one. It was based on the novel by the Marquis de Sade. Pasolini appeared in one Euro-western “Kill and Pray” (1967). Pasolini was murdered brutally by Pino Pelosi, a hustler, by being run over several times with his own car at the beach of Ostia near Rome on November 2, 1975. Today his death still has not been completely explained and many think it was commissioned. Today we remember Pier Paolo Passolini on what would have been his 90th Birthday.
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