Pier Paolo Pasolini Collection, Vol. 1 (Oedipus Rex / Porcile / Love Meetings) (DVD)

Oedipus Rex
A son is born to a young couple in pre-war Italy. The father, motivated by jealousy, takes the baby into the desert to be abandoned, at which point the film’s setting changes to the ancient world. The child is rescued, named Edipo by King Polybus (Ahmed Belhachmi) and Queen Merope (Alida Valli) of Corinth and raised as their own son. When Edipo (Franco Citti) learns of a prophecy foretelling that he will kill his father and marry his mother, he leaves Corinth believing that Polybus and Merope are his true parents.

On the road to Thebes, Edipo meets Laius (Luciano Bartoli), his biological father, and kills him after an argument. Later Edipo solves the riddle of the Sphinx. For freeing the kingdom of Thebes from the Sphinx’s curse Edipo is rewarded with kingship and marriage to queen Jocasta (Silvana Mangano), who is his biological mother. When they discover what they have done, fulfilling the prophecy, Edipo blinds himself and Jocasta commits suicide.

The film features two parallel stories. The first one is set in an unknown past time and is about a young man (Clémenti) who wanders in a volcanic landscape (shot around Etna) and turns into a cannibal. The man joins forces with a thug (Citti) and ravages the countryside. At the end, his company gets arrested and during his execution, he recites the famous tagline of the film: “I killed my father, I ate human flesh and I quiver with joy.” The story is about the human capacity of destruction and a rebellion against the social prerequisites implied against it.

The second story is about Herr Klotz (Lionelli), a German industrialist and his young son Julian (Léaud) who live in 1960s Germany. Julian, instead of passing time with his radically politicised fiancée Ida (Wiazemsky), prefers to build relationships with pigs. Herr Klotz, on the other hand, with his loyal aide Hans Guenther (Ferreri), tries to solve his rivalry with fellow industrialist Herdhitze (Tognazzi). The two industrialists join forces while Julian gets eaten by pigs in the sty. Herdhitze intends to conceal the event. The story attempts to provide a link between the Third Reich and Wirtschaftswunder Germany.

Love Meetings
Microphone in hand, Pier Paolo Pasolini asks Italians to talk about sex: he asks children where babies come from, young and old women if they are men’s equals, men and women if a woman’s virginity matters, how they view homosexuals, how sex and honor connect, if divorce should be legal, and if they support closing the brothels (the Merlina Act). He periodically checks in with Alberto Moravia and Cesare Musatti. Bersani is intrusive and judgmental, prodding those who answer. The film’s thesis: despite the booming post-war economy, Italians’ attitudes toward sex are either rigidly Medieval (the poor and the South) or muddled and self-censoring (the bourgeoisie and the North).

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