Ara H. Merjian at Bookforum:
Setting out in his Fiat 1100 from the Ligurian coast in June of 1959, Pier Paolo Pasolini spent the next couple months wending his way around Italy’s seemingly endless shoreline, arriving—at summer’s end—in the northeastern seaport of Trieste, not far from the Slovenian border. Commissioned by the magazine Successo, Pasolini’s spirited travelogue appeared in successive issues, illustrated with shots by the photographer Paolo di Paolo of chaises longues and beachside cafés, the holiday jet-set and throngs of teenagers clad in swimwear. Expertly translated by Stephen Sartarelli (whose renderings of Pasolini’s poetry came out from University of Chicago Press in 2014), this handsome English-language edition of Pasolini’s features photographs by Philippe Séclier, who retraced Pasolini’s journey, taking images that provide striking counterpoints to the text and update di Paolo’s repertoire in a more personal, intimate vernacular.
A notoriously heretical Marxist and sworn enemy of modernity, Pasolini calls to mind anything but the bourgeois trappings of “success.” His verse, cinema, journalism, and theater waged, in fact, tireless opposition against Italy’s neo-capitalist transformation, in nearly every medium imaginable. Yet here, just as the country’s post-war “economic miracle” picks up steam, we find Pasolini waxing enthusiastic about its future, reveling in those countless pockets of dialect and regional culture that still marked the peninsula’s coast, from sprawling resort towns to tiny fishing villages.