Late period Ferrara films are strictly low-budget, digital affairs, but there's always a purposefulness to the rough aesthetics. There's no grain in the image - devoid of the baggage of classicism, the director's post-New Rose Hotel (1998) work is propelled by immediacy, but defined by its engagement with art, crisis and the soul of man. The Roman skies of Pasolini are black; a threat of an encroaching storm which never arrives. The protagonist is on the precipice of a crumbling European empire. Italian politics is its own hermetic kingdom; an endless procession of pomp and ritual. Pasolini himself is on the margins, urging it to fall. While a certain amount of knowledge is assumed on Ferrara's part, he helps build an image of Pasolini's burden through references to the novel he is writing as well as through more traditional flashbacks. The cumulative effect is that of lives within lives, works within works. The key to the picture is found in one of Pasolini's bon mots. "Mine is not a tale, it is a parable. The meaning of this parable is the relation of an author to the form he creates." It brings us back, like all of Ferrara's films about artists, to the director himself. The film is a reflector of both men's processes.
Craig Williams | @CraigFilm