Alan KeFollow

Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Media Studies

Second Department


Reader 1

Jesse Lerner

Reader 2

Kevin Wynter

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©2023 Alan Ke


Though remembered today for his films, Pasolini’s career emerged from a chiefly literary practice, particularly rooted in the poetry written in his native Friulian dialect. In his multidisciplinary 1965 essay, “The Cinema of Poetry,” Pasolini maps his approach to the written word onto his visual practice of filmmaking. Teorema and Salò, two works that arguably stand out in the director’s oeuvre for their notoriety and (in)explicit sexual content, stand as hallmarks of his achievement of such. The two films borrow structures from allegory, myth, and the poetic form of the canto, merging them with the neurotic consciousnesses of their protagonists, voicing what Pasolini termed as the “free-indirect point-of-view shot.” Overlapping form with style, Pasolini’s distinctive scorn for his bourgeois subjects emerges in his contempt for their status and their very bodies.

My paper engages in a close-reading of the two films, pairing them with the philosophies of Herbert Marcuse’s notion of “surplus-repression” and Georges Bataille’s reflections on erotism. I examine the way in which Pasolini perverts the language of his characters/films, thus condemns the class his films, and his own identity, find most dear: the bourgeois.