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ROME — Abel Ferrara‘s new film Pasolini has picked up an Italian distributor, the Rome-based Europictures. The company was smitten on the film after seeing only a short promo in Cannes. Pasolini, clocking in at 86 minutes, is Ferrara’s look at the controversial Italian director and writer’s last day on earth: Nov. 2, 1975.
Ferrara’s frequent collaborator Willem Dafoe stars as Pier Paolo Pasolini alongside Riccardo Scamarcio, Ninetto Davoli, Valerio Mastandrea, Maria de Medeiros and Adriana Asti. The film weaves the events of his last day with scenes Ferrara shot from Pasolini’s last projects, the unfinished manuscript Petrolio and the screenplay Porno-Teo-Kolossal.
Europictures head Lucy de Crescenzo tells The Hollywood Reporter that she was instantly attracted to the film’s subject. “I was taken by the charm of Pasolini, the director and poet. His films Accattone, Mamma Roma, La Ricotta, mean a lot to us. Pasolini’s films revisited the themes of Italian Neorealism, the great cinematic movement helmed by greats like Rossellini, Visconti and De Sica, who would forever change the way film is viewed.”
The original version of the film, which will be screened in festivals, was shot in English and in Italian. As Italian audiences are not keen on subtitles, a dubbed version will also be released in the country. “Abel would not accept just any voice actor,” says de Crescenzo. “He had only one name in mind: Fabrizio Gifuni.” Gifuni has played Pasolini onstage, and is considered to have a remarkable voice for playing the role. Pasolini’s own films were written in Roman dialect in protest of what he considered to be a bourgeois language.
Whether or not the Italian public will accept an American-directed American actor playing one of their national treasures remains to be seen. Yet Ferrara, of Italian origin, is revered within the country. And Rome, where the New York director has been living, has seemingly adopted him as one of their own treasures. “Of course it is not easy to approach an Italian icon like Pasolini, but the strength of this film lies in the genius of its direction,” says de Crescenzo. “Abel Ferrara has really captured the soul of Pasolini. The two, I think, are kindred spirits.”
Pasolini will premiere in Venice before moving onto Toronto. The Italian release will open Sept. 25, shortly afterward. Europictures is focusing their marketing campaign on targeting the country’s young people. “I want Italy’s youth to know Pasolini and the great cinematic tradition of our country,” says de Crescenzo. “And I think seeing Pasolini, especially as Abel has portrayed him, is a great way to reach this goal.”
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