28 September 2003 | debblyst
More interested in form than content
"Un Mondo d'Amore" deals with the true events which happened in 1949, when then 27-year-old schoolteacher and small-town poet Pier Paolo Pasolini was accused of having seduced three young boys at a party in Friuli (Northern Italy). The film deals with his "disgrace" (including his prohibition to ever again teach in a public school, his estrangement from his father, his leaving home with his mother to penniless life in Rome, his poetry being turned down again and again by publishers, his expelling from the Italian Communist Party, his difficulty and guilt in making his homosexual drive become real action, etc). Pasolini himself approached the episode in his writings describing how he acutely suffered and was filled with revolt and doubt, of which there is a surprisingly cold retelling in the film.
"Mondo..." has some great assets: the first sequence (the country ball where dozens of young boys dance in pairs) is very beautiful and moody; the art direction (including locations) is well crafted; the train sequence with the old lady is funny and VERY Italian; but especially striking is the fascinating job by actor Arturo Paglia in the title role, managing to create a character that is constantly true to Pasolini (at least in the way he described himself in his book "Amato Mio") yet alive on its own, not mimicry.
However, the film takes too many sideways, as if the main character - Pasolini himself - wasn't interesting enough. And there's this very bothering in-your-face "extra-care" for the "right" angle and the "right" chiaroscuro effect, producing a rather "arty", static look, ultimately devoid of real emotion. The final sequence is particularly disappointing and might be also misleading, perhaps giving an ambiguous (and dangerous) idea of Pasolini to those who are not familiar with his life story.
Anyway, Pasolini is an artist and a man who should always be remembered, not only for his multi-talented expression (cinema, poetry, fiction, articles, essays, etc), but also as a symbol of non-conformism and pristine clarity in his perception of reality -- please read "The Heretic's Last Words", a book comprising a series of interviews given by Pasolini to Jean-André Fieschi through the 60s, in which, for example, he already denounces the conformist ideals behind 1968 student riots, the anti- democratic praxis of the Italian Communist Party, and the perversion of what he brilliantly called "the new fascism of consumerism" of our times. See also his fascinating portrayal in the French TV documentary "Cinéma de Notre Temps: Pasolini l'Enragé" (1966). My vote: 6 out of 10.