Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
December 18
October 26, 1949
Pasolini Expelled from Communist party

At the beginning of January 1947, the Italian soon-to-be-director Pier Paolo Pasolini wrote in the newspaper Libertà: "In our opinion, we think that currently only Communism is able to provide a new culture." He soon threw himself headfirst into the communist cause in Italy. He was named secretary of the communist section of San Giovanni, in the area of Northern Italy in which he was living. He was also hired as a school teacher. But just two years later, he was charged with “corruption of minors and obscene acts in a public place.” In addition to losing his teaching post, the Italian Communist party expelled him for “moral and political indignity.” He described his state: “my future is not even black; it does not exist.”  But, in some ways, these events pushed him to making films. Completely rejected, Pasolini moved to Rome, to the wretched neighborhood of the Borgate, where he begin to create an aesthetic of the outcast that would inform his future films. While he maintained a Marxist perspective, his own position would always be iconoclastic, a perspective that he used in creating the world of his first films, Accattone and Mamma Roma.


More Flashbacks
Dec. 18, 1958
Boris Karloff's nephews found murdered

On December 18, 1958, Boris Karloff was struck by a personal tragedy more horrible than any event depicted in one of his movies when his two great-nephews were discovered with their throats slit.

Read more »
December 18, 1966
Antonioni’s Blowup Defines Cool

In New York, crowds of hip cinephiles lined up to see Michelangelo Antonioni’s first English-language film Blowup. The Italian director had already risen to the top of everyone’s must-see list with movies like L'avventura and L’eclisse. But in Blowup, Antonioni took hipness to a whole new level. The script, based on a short story by Argentinean writer Julio Cortázar (who gets a walk on role in the film as a homeless man), involves a callous fashion photographer (David Hemmings) who believes he may have photographed a murder by accident, but finds he can’t prove it one way or other. While Blowup’s existential murder mystery was indeed compelling, it was its backdrop of swinging mod London that captured the most attention. Many felt the main character was modeled on the real-life jet-setting photographer David Bailey, and actual models Jane Birkin and Veruschka wander in and out the film’s world. At the party scene, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page of The Yardbirds play on stage (as themselves), and local personalities like Michael Palin (later of Monty Python) pop up in the crowd. The whole mishmash captured the London scene like nothing else had. Andrew Sarris called the movie "a mod masterpiece.” Playboy’s Arthur Knight went further by suggesting that in the future Blowup will be as “as important and germinal a film as Citizen Kane, Open City and Hiroshima, Mon Amour – perhaps even more so."

Read more »