35 Years Later, Will Pier Paolo Pasolini's Murder Be Investigated Yet Again?


An open letter in an Italian newspaper has ignited yet another round of interest in the curious case of Pier Paolo Pasolini, the legendary (and legendarily challenging) filmmaker who was found savagely beaten and murdered in 1975. A male prostitute confessed and did the time three decades ago, but suspicions have lingered, and today folks are wondering anew: Did he really do the crime?

Well, maybe not "folks" plural, at least not yet. The Independent points readers to a note published earlier this week in Italy's biggest daily newspaper and written by the country's erstwhile mayor of Rome and national opposition leader Walter Veltroni, who insists that 17-year-old Giuseppe Pelosi did not act alone that night when Pasolini was beaten and then run over three times -- with his own car. Instead, as friends and associates of the gay intellectual/radical/poet/filmmaker behind The Gospel According to St. Matthew and the notorious Salo have pointed out previously, there could be evidence linking up to five accomplices and/or other parties entirely to Pasolini's violent death.

Pelosi recanted his confession in 2005, saying organized criminals influenced him to cop the killing under threat of harm to his family. After briefly revisiting the case, authorities said there wasn't enough evidence to launch a new investigation. Not so fast, wrote Veltroni, noting that forensics today are even harder-core than the director was in his time:

"We have to keep looking for the truth," [Veltroni] wrote to the minister. "Now science and technology can help us to make a definitive judgment. Now you, supplying an impulse to the initiative could perform a very important role."

He quoted Luciano Garofano, a former director of the carabinieri RIS forensic unit, as saying recent scientific advances mean that the clothes, sweat and blood samples found at the scene, as well as the stick Pasolini is said to have used in an attempt to defend himself, should all be retested. [...] Inside [Pasolini's] vehicle, investigators found a jumper that belonged to neither the murder victim nor the 17-year-old convicted for the crime. There were also bloody fingerprints that were not checked.

Sergio Citti, a film director and friend of Pasolini, has claimed that five men committed the murder, which he thinks was a political killing. Five years ago, in a newspaper interview, he said: "Pelosi was only a boy. He acted as a bait for those five. They only used him, they needed somebody to blame for the crime." Mr. Citti claimed that Pasolini was murdered elsewhere and his body dumped on the beach.

The plot thickens -- or does it? Probably not, if there were any danger of Pasolini's own professed knowledge in 1974 coming out about "serious, important individuals" behind the indoctrination of young Italians into right-wing hit squads. But the thought's what counts (publicity doesn't feel too bad, either), plus it got one of Morrissey's better late-era singles stuck in a few heads. So give Veltroni at least some credit.

· The filmmaker, the confession and the murder that refuses to die [The Independent via IFC]


  • raincoaster says:

    Back in the 80's Vanity Fair ran a story on this that (if I recall correctly) implied that Pelosi was goaded into doing it by a gang of boys he ran with; the motive was to prove he was macho. To "restore his honour." If there'd been whispers of mafioso involvement, I think they'd have reported it then.


    I think the victim didnt use this scene of torturing someone to death by running him/her under a car in his movie Salo?

    He deserved it by all means.

  • […] commentator and all-around iconoclast, was murdered by a male prostitute before it premiered. The murderer now says he was suborned by crypto-Fascist elements eager to be rid of the outspoken director. Salò’s subject matter is […]