Pier Paolo Pasolini: Poetry, Passion and Provocation

Wednesday, Sep 7 – Oct 12, 2022

164 N. State
Chicago, IL 60601

Screenings every Wednesday at 7:30pm CT 

One hundred years after his birth and nearly fifty years after his death, the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini continue to shock and provoke audiences, a filmography defined by powerful imagery and thematic juxtapositions: the sacred and the profane, the pious and the perverse, the personal and the political. One of the most distinctive filmmakers of the 60s and 70s, and one of cinema’s most venerated auteurs, Pasolini challenged the boundaries of filmmaking, self expression, and censorship, leaving him with a legacy of distinctive and singular work. Content consideration: films in this series contain sexual themes and imagery.

Presented by Gene Siskel Film Center. This series is made possible by and presented with generous support from the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago. 

Info and Tickets



Mamma Roma (1962)

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini

Wednesday, September 7 at 7:30pm

After working as a prostitute for years, Mamma Roma (Anna Magnani) dreams of a better life for herself and her teenage son, whom she abandoned when he was an infant - even when he seems destined for a life of crime. Banned in Italy upon its release, MAMMA ROMA is a neorealist classic, an early chapter in Pasolini’s exploration of the marginalized and the oppressed. Preceded at 6:30PM by a wine and light bites reception for all MAMMA ROMA ticket holders, hosted by the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago.


Medea (1969)

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini

Wednesday, September 14 at 7:30pm

Pasolini cast the renowned opera diva Maria Callas in the titular role of his ambitious and abstract adaptation of the Greek tragedy by Euripides. Under Pasolini’s direction, Callas - in her only feature film performance - is rhapsodic as the mythical sorceress, giving a commanding performance steeped in power, madness and revenge.



The Decameron (1971)

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini

Wednesday, September 21 at 7:30pm

Pasolini adapts Giovanni Boccaccio’s collection of short stories in the first film in his Trilogy of Life (followed by THE CANTERBURY TALES and ARABIAN NIGHTS), weaving together bawdy and burlesque vignettes about sex, religion, and gardening (among other subjects). 



The Canterbury Tales (1972)

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini

Wednesday, September 28 at 7:30pm

Adapting eight of Geoffrey Chaucer’s ribald tales of medieval times (and portraying Chaucer himself), Pasolini deftly gets to the social satire at the core of the text, delivering what is arguably his most “light hearted work,” complete with an outrageously realized trip to Hell.



Arabian Nights (1974)

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini

Wednesday, October 5 at 7:30pm

For the final chapter of his Trilogy of Life, Pasolini traveled from Africa to the Middle East to adapt “The Thousand and One Nights.” Magical and moody, Pasolini’s treatment focuses on the book’s erotic stories, anchored by the love affair between a young man and a slave.



Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom(1974)

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini

Wednesday, October 12 at 7:30pm

Notorious for its reception as much as its imagery, Pasolini’s final film has been called depraved, pornographic - and brilliant. Beyond the controversy around his adaptation of the Marquis de Sade’s unfinished work of degradation, it is an unflinching look at the hypocrisy of the social and sexual mores by which we live.