dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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A modern-day narrative of bourgeois bestiality is paralleled with the primeval tale of an unrepentant cannibal, in one of Pasolini's most notorious and outrageous films.


"A poem in the form of a desperate cry," the notorious, outrageous, and moving Porcile captures Pasolini's purest aversion to the hypocrisy and greed of contemporary life. Nouvelle vague icon Jean-Pierre Léaud stars as Julian, the son of an ex-Nazi industrialist, whose hated father has ensconced the family in an Italianate villa. Repulsed by his privileged existence, Julian gradually withdraws into self-willed catatonia, rejecting a relationship with the radical Ida (Anne Wiazemsky, the art-house "It" girl of the moment after Bresson's Au hasard Balthazar and Godard's La Chinoise) in favour of sexual congress with pigs. In a second, primeval tale that parallels this modern-day narrative, Pierre Clémenti plays a cannibal cavorting on a sulphur-spewing Mount Etna, who solves his familial problems by eating a little flesh. The combining of dream and reality, ancient and modern, primal and "advanced" societies that Pasolini developed in such works as Oedipus Rex and Medea here reaches its risk-taking zenith. Richard Roud bravely championed the film against its many detractors, noting when he chose it for the New York Film Festival that Porcile "may be unlovable, but it is triumphantly unforgettable."