Using film to explore Italian culture past and present, Derek Duncan provided insights on Pier Paolo Pasolini’s works.
The works of controversial Italian filmmaker Pasolini are slated to be shown at the Wexner Center for the Arts through Feb. 25. The Pasolini retrospective began Jan. 9.
Derek Duncan, a scholar in Italian film at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, spoke about his studies on Pasolini’s work.
The Wexner Center hosted Duncan for a lecture Thursday about his studies on Pasolini’s work and his particular interest in the issues of transcultural art.
Pasolini was an influential Italian filmmaker who was best known for his films, poetry, plays and novels, some of which explored homosexuality. At the height of his popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, Pasolini was an openly gay man who was well-known for being a political activist.
Duncan used Pasolini’s progressive films and poetry to study the present day cultural development in Italy.
“Queer studies is quite undeveloped in Italy although there is growing interest … there is a certain resistance also to what is regarded as a foreign body of thought,” Duncan said.
David Filipi, director of film and video for the Wexner Center, said he was pleased to welcome Duncan to Ohio State to enhance the appreciation for Pasolini’s work within the campus community.
“In presenting our Pasolini retrospective, we knew that it represents a very challenging and complex body of work, full of contradictions and that the series would benefit from lectures to help add context,” Filipi said.
OSU students and faculty attended to hear Duncan’s take on Pasolini. Amber MacDonald, a second-year in mathematics, attended for extra credit for her Italian mafia movies class, but said she ended up learning and enjoying more than she thought.
“The lecture gave me a unique perspective on Italian culture and films of the 1950s and today,” MacDonald said.
Pasolini was murdered in 1975 for what is still believed today to be on the basis of his lifestyle and radical beliefs.
The retrospective series is slated to host another scholar Feb. 13, Louis-Georges Schwartz of Ohio University, who is scheduled to discuss Pasolini’s film “Medea” relating to feminism and the struggle of women in Italy between 1969 and 1978.
Other featured films include, “Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom,” “The Canterbury Tales,” “Accattone,” “La ricotta,” “Oedipus Rex,” “Medea” and “Arabian Nights.” All film viewings are scheduled to be held in the Wexner Center film and video theater.
All of the films are $6 for students and $8 for adults.