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Movie Info & Cast


The Roman life and the imaginary worlds of Pier Paolo Pasolini intermingle in Abel Ferrara's retelling of the final days in the life of the fifty-year-old filmmaker and writer, in a lovely, haunting film that draws on his last interview and envisages scenes from an unmade final film and his incomplete novel, Petrolio. Willem Dafoe, regally exhausted, is the spitting image of the murdered director, and Pasolini's beloved muse Ninetto Davoli returns to "finish" his friend's work, but Ferrara wisely never attempts to merely ape Pasolini's style, instead offering one iconoclastic artist's tribute to another, a biopic that busts the boundaries of the form and a passion project decades in the imagining that gives Pasolini's final moments on the beach at Ostia the terrible sanctity of the Passion.


  • Willem Dafoe
  • Ninetto Davoli
  • Riccardo Scamarcio
  • Valerio Mastandrea
  • Roberto Zibetti
  • Andrea Bosca
  • Giada Colagrande
  • Damiano Tamilia
  • Francesco Siciliano
  • Luca Lionello

Did You Know?


  • Ninetto Davoli, who plays Epifanio in this film, has acted in many of Pier Paolo Pasolini's films and was, for a period of time, his lover. He is also a character in the film, played by Riccardo Scamarcio.
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    • Pier Paolo Pasolini: Let me be frank to you.
    • Pier Paolo Pasolini: I have been to hell and I know things that don't disturb other people's dreams
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Atom User Reviews

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May 12, 2019

With this determination to eschew simple explanations, to avoid being reductive about the cause and effect of an artist’s work and life, and to remain true to the cloudy circumstances surrounding Pasolini’s murder, comes a troubling directorial decision to turn the man’s death into a symbol — of what is unclear.

Metacritic review by Dave White
Dave White
Oct 20, 2015

Biopics ascribe titanic importance to a subject's every gesture, but Ferrara stresses the reality of creation, of its ordinary activities that nonetheless give an artist a sense of fulfillment.

Metacritic review by Jake Cole
Jake Cole
Slant Magazine
Sep 14, 2014

It was a given that this meeting of two iconoclastic directors would yield something far more unfettered and instinctive than conventional bio-drama. But the result borders on incoherence, providing few startling insights for aficionados and minimal illumination for the uninitiated.

Metacritic review by David Rooney
David Rooney
The Hollywood Reporter