Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
December 09
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
December 9, 1973
Don't Look Now released

On December 9, 1978, Nicolas Roeg's iconic Venice-set chiller Don't Look Now went on release in New York City.

Read more »
December 9, 1973
Looking at Don't Look Now

When British director Nicolas Roeg’s perverse thriller Don’t Look Now hit American theaters, not everyone was happy. In the New York Times review, Vincent Canby claimed that when this “fragile soap bubble of a horror film” ends, “you may feel, as I did, that you've been had.” Adapted from a Daphne Du Maurier short story, Don’t Look Now previewed many of the director’s upcoming themes—chaotic, realistic sex; disjunctive narrative montages; storylines that collapse the psychological and the supernatural. Here a young couple (Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland), traumatized by the recent drowning of their young daughter, comes to Venice for a working holiday and possible relief from their grief. What they find instead is a mystery lost in the maze of Venice’s back streets and canals and shrouded in the city’s famous fog. And while some find the film’s enigmatic style off-putting, more have found it unforgettable. The sex scene, which was thrown in at the last moment, has become so infamous that for years people have questioned whether it was real or simulated. The film’s fractured shooting style remains a model for how to transform a city into a cinematic character. And the infamous chase of a girl in a red raincoat has been referenced by films as diverse as the torture porn hit Hostel to the comedy In Bruges to James Bond’s Casino Royale to many music videos. 

Read more »