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October 12, 2005


Pasolini_pensive_2  The investigation into the 1975 murder of the great gay Italian poet-film director-novelist-playwright-essayist-literary critic Pier Paolo Pasolini(left) -- which had been re-opened in May after the hustler originally convicted of the murder recanted on television his confession of three decades earlier -- has been definitively shelved, it was reported in Rome yesterday. This means that the many questions about the murder of Pasolini -- a political radical as well as a genius polymath -- will remain unanswered.

Ever since Pino "the Frog" Pelosi, who was a teenage hustler and petty criminal at the time he confessed to having killed Pasolini, said in a lengthy interview with Rai 3 television that his earlier confession was a fabrication, I have closely followed and written about the Pasolini murder case. I laid out many of the serious flaws in Pelosi's original confession and the reasons why many of Pasolini's closest friends have always believed the murder was political in a lengthy article I wrote for the August 5 L.A. Weekly, "Restoring Pasolini."

Frankly, I'm not surprised that this latest investigation of Pasolini's murder has gone Pasolini_trenchcoat_best_3 nowhere -- for several reasons. In the first place, it is 31 years since Pasolini (right) was brutally assassinated, many of the principals who were or could have been have involved have since died, memories have faded, documents have disappeared. Moreover, the Italian police (like all police departments) are notorious for protecting their image. And the original investigation was a complete botch. For example, as I reported earlier, the original judge in the Pasolini murder case recently said that the theory that the murder was political was "never investigated' at the time by the authorities." And at the time of the first investigation, the police was riddled both with elements of the neo-fascist extreme right who detested Pasolini both for his politics and for his open homosexuality, and by corrupt police in cahoots with the Mafia. Rome police were thus charged with investigating themselves in the freshly re-opened inquest into the murder.

Then, too, not only did the Mafia have extensive ties to the neo-fascist ultras in Italian politics and shared their homophobia, but it had threatened Pasolini who, at the time of his murder, was working on an investigation of the Maria's role in the extensive and lucrative Italian prostitution industry. Moreover, one of Pasolini's closet friends and proteges -- the talented Italian film director and scenarist Sergio Citti (right), Pasolini_s_citti_today who was considered the only legitimate inheritor of Pasolini's cinematic heritage -- had always asserted he knew  that Pino "the Frog" had been part of a plot to lure Pasolini to the deserted vacant lot where he was brutally murdered by people claiming to have possession of precious  stolen footage from Pasolin's anti-fascist film "Salo, or 120 Days of Sodom," which Pasolini was completing at the time. In a tragic coincidence, the 72-year-old Citti died this past Tuesday, on the same day it was announced the re-opened investigation into the murder of his dear friend and mentor Pasolini, for which Citti had long campaigned, had been shelved.

It was widely assumed in Pasolinian circles that Pino "the Frog" was the "fall guy" in the murder, who had been pressured or compensated into confessing to it because, since he was a minor at the time, he would receive a very light sentence (in fact, the hustler was sentenced to only 9 years in jail, and did not serve his full sentence).

So, even it the trail had gone cold after three decades and the re-opened investigation  says it found nothing to confirm that Pasolini's murder was political, neither has it found anything that says that it was not. And so the many, many questions about Pasolini's mysterious death will remain officially unresolved.

For a comprehensive account of Pasolini's life and murder, see my L.A. Weekly article, "Restoring Pasolini."

Posted by Direland at 07:24 PM | Permalink


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This is a sad story and I hope they re-open the case to find his killer.

Posted by: Jessica | Nov 7, 2005 11:34:23 PM

It is now up to us to keep Pasolini alive -- and rescue his art from his murderers.

Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Nov 3, 2005 9:44:42 AM

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