Porcile, (Pigsty) the story of a cannibal in a medieval wasteland is interwoven with that of the son of an ex-Nazi industrialist in modern day Germany. The young German, who is more attracted to pigs than his fiancee, and... more » the cannibal become sacrificial victims of their different societies. This strange, grotesque and thought provoking parable is filmed with such a calm beauty and underlying disgust that it gains a deep significance as an attack on the middle classes of the 20th century.« less
"Porcile (aka Pigsty, released in 1969) is one of Pasolini's most hauntingly original works. It interweaves two seemingly disconnected tales, that of a young man (Pierre Clémenti of Belle de Jour) forced into a life of cannibalism in a dreamlike medieval Wasteland, and that of the enigmatic son (Jean-Pierre Léaud of The 400 Blows) of an ex-Nazi industrialist in modern Germany. The cannibal and the young German, more attracted to pigs than to his beautiful fiancée, both become sacrificial victims of their different societies. This strange, grotesque and provocative parable, filmed with serene beauty and underlying horror, resonates on many different levels.Although Porcile has the reputation of being a "difficult film," it can also be viewed as one of Pasolini's most accessible. Just let its hallucinatory images wash over you, then think about about what it all means at your leisure. It should also be noted that this is not an abstract film, since each section has a definite, and sometimes suspenseful, story to tell.The film works because of the enormous tensions, both visceral and intellectual, around which it is built. In terms of history, we have the contrast between an overtly barbaric past, with cannibalism and Christian priests who ritually sacrifice young men and women, and a covertly barbaric present, with neo-Nazis running Big Business. Visually, we have the vast, barren spaces of the medieval Wasteland contrasting with the flat opulence of the Klotz Villa, where Pasolini uses lateral or head-on angles almost exclusively.The anti-bourgeois satire of Porcile's modern section is in startling contrast to the dreamlike Wasteland scenes. The series of monotonous conversations about the 'good old days' of Nazi Germany, often led by Mr. Klotz (Ugo Tognazzi of La Cage Aux Folles), quickly degenerates into noise, since its ideology is so pat. This knee-jerk parodying of the decadent bourgeoisie as swine in countless ways, both visually and verbally, is so over the top that one can only hope that Pasolini, an otherwise astute social critic, intended it as a satire of cheap satire, of lazy political "thinking."Of course, Porcile is infamous for its portrayal of cannibalism. But in fact this is presented (forgive the pun) in good taste. Pasolini goes to lengths to show, in the Wasteland section, that cannibalism is solely a matter of survival. But even as he downplays the titillation, Pasolini finds new dimensions to this theme. Take the scene of Clémenti's duel with a straggling (or is it deserting?) soldier. After scrambling over the desolate hills, they finally lock swords. When the soldier at last realizes that he has lost, he bows down, accepting his fate like prey awaiting the predator's coup de grace. But the ...filmmaker also infuses the scene, between these two attractive men, with a tender homoeroticism. Which is cut short when Clémenti whacks off the soldier's head and then, well, you know what's for lunch.Much of Porcile's power, and deep strangeness, comes from its suggestive openness. As Pasolini says, in the half hour documentary included on the DVD, "I've always posed various problems and left them open to consideration." That complex openness allowed me to challenge some of my assumptions - both obvious ones, about class and society, and more subtle ones about the nature of religion, history and film.Don't be surprised if you find yourself thinking and talking about Porcile, even dreaming about it, for a long time to come.The DVD is of good quality. I believe that the "weird bits" at the end of each reel (i.e., every 10 minutes) were intended by Pasolini as a sort of Brechtian "Alienation Effect." I assume that the film is correct as released, because the print comes directly from the Pasolini Foundation in Rome. By the way, since they control the rights, they insisted that the U.S. distributor release the DVD without any chapters (i.e., it's in one continuous track), to encourage people to watch the film in its entirety. Still, it's important to have this extraordinary part of Pasolini's filmography on DVD."
Awful transfer of a strange film
Scott Richardson | Chicago, IL USA | 05/19/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Pasolini's Porcile is a strange double-tale of cannibalism, self-sacrifice, Nazis, and (for lack of a better term) swine-affinity.I'm very happy to own this film on DVD, but I wish the disc was better. The transfer is downright awful: the colors shift, it's poorly matted, the image bounces up and down (more than just Pasolini's handheld shots), the sound is awful and hissy, and the entire film is scratched - in fact, it looks to have been sourced from either a workprint or an original print (it features strange calibration frames between each reel, and the reels themselves are separated by several seconds of black space).I would recommend this to die-hard Pasolini enthusiasts, as it's probably the only Region 1 edition we'll ever see. Just don't expect a great transfer. Hopefully, Waterbearer will address some of these problems for their Volume 2 box set."
Great film, terrible DVD
NMM | Montreal, Canada | 03/11/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Like most Pasolini films, this is a beautiful film.
Unfortunately, like most of Water Bearer's Pasolini releases, this is by far one of the worst looking and sounding DVDs I have ever seen.
The sound is hissy and scratchy, like a destroyed vinyl record.
The color is weak and pale.
The picture itself is scratchy, dirty and shaky: a thick, distracting layer of crud over the picture surface.
Worst of all, the subtitles are terrible: hard to read, and irremovable from the screen.
There are also no chapters on this disc: the whole film is one long chapter.
I honestly don't know why Water Bearer even bothered to license the Pasolini films because it seems they did absolutely NOTHING to prepare them for proper release. It's sad and completely disrespectful to the work. Hopefully, sometime in the future Criterion or a similar company will acquire these films and do a nice job presenting them. The 2004 Criterion version of Momma Roma is absolutely wonderful."
Pasolini at his finest.
NMM | 06/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Pasolini masterpiece. Great dialogue. Beautiful locations, faces, lighting, and camera direction. This film works on so many intellectual levels. It is at once surreal, bizarre, chic, beautiful, and much more. What else can one say? Like all Pasolini...pure genius!"
"I killed my father, I ate human flesh, and I tremble with j
Grigory's Girl | NYC | 08/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Since Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom has been released (or specifically, reissued), I thought "you know, Pasolini has made a lot of other films, and I feel like writing about it". Most people (especially in the states) only know Pasolini for Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom, which is a shame, as he was an incredibly prolific filmmaker. This is one of his most polarizing films, a 2nd cousin to Salo, in that people found this film strange, baffling, disgusting (thought not as disgusting as Salo can be at times), and fascinating. It tells two parallel stories, one about two warriors killing and eating their victims, and another one about a young industrialist's son (played by Jean-Pierre Leaud) who would rather sleep with swine than human beings. Pasolini has said it's a metaphor, but even if you know what Pasolini was getting at (or you think you do), it's hard to just dismiss the power and strangeness of this film (much like Salo). It has one of the most chilling and memorable lines in all of Pasolini's work...
"I killed my father, I ate human flesh, and I tremble with joy."
The film is filled with great performances from Pasolini regular Franco Citti, Pierre Clementi (who also appeared in Bertolucci's Partner and Makavejev's outrageous Sweet Movie), Jean-Pierre Leaud (the French New Wave's mainstay), Ugo Tognazzi (one of Italy's best known comic actors who plays against type here brilliantly), and Anne Wiazmesky (Godard's former muse and the lead in Bresson's Au Hasard Balthazaar). Pasolini quite often cast unprofessionals in his films, and the critics always talk as if he did this with every film. This isn't true. This film has the most professional actors that Pasolini ever used, and they all give great performances. If you are a fan of Pasolini, or if you have yet to start watching Pasolini films, this one is a must."