Pepe Escobar in Asia Times:
In the early morning of November 2, 1975, in Idroscalo, a terminally dreadful shanty town in Ostia, outside Rome, the body of Pier Paolo Pasolini, then 53, an intellectual powerhouse and one of the greatest filmmakers of the 1960s and 1970s, was found badly beaten and run over by his own AlfaÂ Romeo.
It was hard to conceive a more stunning, heartbreaking, modern mix of Greek tragedy with Renaissance iconography; in a bleak setting straight out of a Pasolini film, the author himself was immolated just like his main character in Mamma Roma (1962) lying in prison in the manner of the Dead Christ, aka theLamentation of Christ, by Andrea Mantegna.
This might have been a gay tryst gone terribly wrong; a 17-year-old low life was charged with murder, but the young man was also linked with the Italian neo-fascists. The true story has never emerged. What did emerge is that “the new Italy” – or the aftereffects of a new capitalist revolution – killed Pasolini.
Pasolini could only reach for the stars after graduating in literature from Bologna University – the oldest in the world – in 1943. Today, a Pasolini is utterly unthinkable. He would be something like an UFIO (unidentified flying intellectual object); the total intellectual – poet, dramatist, painter, musician, fiction writer, literary theorist, filmmaker and political analyst.
For educated Italians, he was essentially a poet (what a huge compliment that meant, decades ago …) In his masterpiece The Ashes of Gramsci (1952), Pasolini draws a striking parallel, in terms of striving for a heroic ideal, between Gramsci and Shelley – who happen to be buried in the same cemetery in Rome. Talk about poetic justice.