Pier Paolo Pasolini Biography

Pier Paolo Pasolini, a renowned Italian poet, novelist, filmmaker, and political figure, was a multifaceted artist who seamlessly moved between various forms of art. From a young age, he displayed a passion for the arts, excelling in drawing, painting, writing, poetry, and filmmaking. His poetry collections, published at the age of nineteen, showcased his talent and set the stage for his future works. In both his novels and films, Pasolini focused on the lives of imperfect yet relatable youths from Rome’s slums, capturing their authenticity through the use of non-professional actors and the power of classical music. His filmmaking style was direct and unapologetic, tackling controversial topics such as sexual taboos, religion, and politics. Pasolini’s artistic vision was deeply influenced by his championing of modern linguistic theory, which led him to approach filmmaking as a form of true poetry, expressing reality through untainted and visceral scenes. Throughout his works, the recurring themes of Marxism and Catholic values reflected his unique perspective as a self-proclaimed Catholic Communist. However, Pasolini’s personal life was not without its challenges, as his homosexuality subjected him to court cases and threats that impacted his livelihood and well-being.

Quick Facts

  • Italian Celebrities Born In March Died At Age: 53
  • Family: Spouse/Ex-: Ninetto Davoli, father: Carlo Alberto Pasolini, mother: Susanna Pasolini, siblings: Guidalberto Pasolini
  • Born Country: Italy
  • Poets
  • Directors
  • Height: 5’6″ (168 cm), 5’6″ Males
  • Died on: November 2, 1975
  • Place of death: Ostia, Italy
  • Ancestry: Polish Italian
  • Cause of Death: Assassination
  • City: Bologna, Italy
  • Notable Alumni: University Of Bologna
  • Education: University Of Bologna

Childhood & Early Life

Pier Paolo Pasolini was born on 5 March 1922, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Bologna, Italy. His father, Carlo Alberto Pasolini, served as an infantry lieutenant for the Fascist government, while his mother, Susanna Colussi, was a trained schoolteacher. Growing up, Pasolini’s family moved frequently due to his father’s military career. To cope with the constant relocations, Pasolini turned to literature and poetry, finding solace in the works of authors like Novalis, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky. In 1939, he enrolled in the University of Bologna’s Literature College, where he discovered new concepts of figurative arts.


In 1943, Pasolini joined the military, but soon after, his regiment was taken prisoner by the Germans following Italy’s surrender. He managed to escape and sought refuge in Casarsa with his family. In Casarsa, he co-founded a magazine called Stroligùt di cà da l’aga and formed the Academiuta di lenga furlana, a Friulian Language Academy. During his time with the academy, Pasolini published two poetry collections and an Italian drama.

In 1947, Pasolini became the secretary of the Casarsa cell of the Italian Communist Party (PCI). However, controversy arose when he was accused of corrupting local youth through homosexual conduct. As a result, he was forced to move to Rome in the early 1950s. In Rome, he found work at Cinecittà film studios and also worked as a teacher in a suburb outside of Rome. He left his teaching job in 1954 to work full-time for Cinecittà’s literary section.

Pasolini published his first major poem collection, “The Ashes of Gramsci,” in 1955, which received widespread acclaim. That same year, he also published his first novel, “Ragazzi de vita.” In 1961, Pasolini made his directorial debut with the film “Accattone.” He continued to make films throughout the 1960s and 1970s, exploring themes of Marxism, Christianity, ideology, and myth.

Major Works

“The Ashes of Gramsci” (1955) is Pasolini’s most famous collection of poetry, written as a tribute to the founder of the Italian Communist Party, Antonio Gramsci. His film “The Gospel according to St. Matthew” (1964) is known for its poetic brilliance and unique interpretation of the story of Jesus Christ.

Family & Personal Life

Pasolini had a brother named Guido, who served in the Osoppo-Friuli brigade and was killed in an ambush by Italian partisans while fighting with Yugoslavian guerilla fighters. Pasolini identified as a Catholic communist and was openly homosexual. He faced backlash from the church, society, and government, and was dismissed from his teaching position and the PCI due to allegations of corrupting minors through homosexual misconduct.

Pasolini’s life came to a tragic end when his dead body was found on the beach in Ostia on 2 November 1975. Forensic investigation revealed gruesome details of his injuries, and he was laid to rest in his hometown of Casarsa.

Leave a Comment