Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
May 29
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.


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Fury May 29, 1936
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May 29, 1981
Polyester released

After a four-year hiatus, scandalous Baltimore director John Waters returned with some new, um, material on this day in 1981. Polyester marked Waters’ first film after completing his so-called “Trash Trilogy” – Pink Flamingos (1972), Female Trouble (1974) and Desperate Living (1977) – and saw him move into more mainstream territory after that triptych’s shock tactics, most famously encapsulated in the moment in Pink Flamingos when Waters’ drag diva Divine eats freshly delivered doggie doo-doo.

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