Two dramatic stories. In an undeterminated past, a young cannibal (who killed his own father) is condemned to be torn to pieces by some wild beasts. In the second story, Julius, the young son of a post-war German industrialist, is on the way to lie down with his farm’s pigs.
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Pasolini's most impenetrable film is also his most beguiling; the work of a visionary, which blends hallucinatory scenes of pre-historic violence with the extended monologues of the bourgeoisie. Difficult to know the intentions of the filmmaker, but the suggestion "a story about pigs to tell a story about Jews", combined with the overlapping of the two tales, hints at the same anti-fascist polemic of the later Salo.
The Marco Ferreri scene is exciting in and of itself divorced from the context: a great film artist appearing in another one's work. The mountain scenes are beautiful and disorienting. One of Pasolini's stronger bizarro-agit-props.
I love Pasolini, but this is one of his more challenging films, and I found it difficult. I don't know if a film about cannibalism and bestiality could be easy. What saved this film for me was the cast, actors that I love: Anne Wiazemsky (Au Hasard, Balthazar), Jean Pierre Leaud (400 Blows), and Ugo Tognazzi (La Grande Bouffe). If you have never seen a Pasolini film, don't start with this one, try Accattone first.
As usual, Pasolini's intellect outpaces his technical facility, giving us a lot of high literary talk shot in clunky, metronomic closeup-closeup-closeup-closeup. But there's a poetic logic to it all that can't be discounted.
It combines the major conceptual aspirations seen in his previous films, a work that is equal parts essay, poem and satire about the impact of ideologies on its individuals and the catastrophic consequences on those who refuse to embrace them. One of Pasolini's theories here might be that if opposite terms can describe an individual's character and motivations, that individual is as good as nothing itself.
A mysterious film showing a world of sin, flipping back and forth between an undefined 'medieval-looking' world of cannibalism in an arid volcanic world and post-WW2 Germany in which the fascist mentality remains. The present-day narrative depicts a business merger between a Jewish ex-scientist, who hid his identity during the war and killed other Jews, and a Nazi. Leaud is the son of the Nazi and is a fan of pigs.