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Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Cinema of Transgression

Here’s a video essay on why Pier Paolo Pasolini was the master of crossing the line.
Salo Ceremonial Costume
The Criterion Collection
By  · Published on August 7th, 2020

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video that explores the work of Pier Paolo Pasolini.


Depending on who you ask, Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom is either the most depraved film ever made or a necessary — if very hard to watch — reminder of human cruelty. While Salò is an extreme case, this polarization is generally the rule of thumb when it comes to the films of cinema’s preeminent gay, Italian, Catholic, Marxist provocateur, Pier Paolo Pasolini. Either you stay clear, or you taste the forbidden fruit.

Whether you agree with what he says or how he says it is one thing. But it’s hard to deny the man’s ability to harness the transgressive power of cinema. His films are filthy. But so is the real world. And Pasolini wants to make sure we don’t let ourselves off the hook. So he provokes us into questioning the status quo, the ruling class, and even cinema itself. In the video essay below, we’re encouraged to consider the power and purpose of cinematic transgression. How there is power in disobedience when the establishment would prefer we look away.

Watch “Pier Paolo Pasolini: cinema as transgression“:


Who made this?

Luiza Liz, a.k.a. Art Regard, is a U.K.-based video essayist and a co-creator of Cinema Cartography. Her videos investigate the intersections of film and philosophy. You can check out Cinema Cartography’s website here. You can check out their back catalog of videos here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).