The 'Theorem' of Pier Paolo Pasolini's Death

A murder, an unsolved mystery and a book are all part of an event that still endures in the minds of Italians.



From the 14th of October, the Barbican Theatre will host a new controversial staging of a classical European literary work. Based on the work of the Italian writer, director and philosopher Pier Paolo Pasolini, T.E.O.R.E.M.A.T is the latest play created by the multi-award winning Polish director Grzegorz Jarzyna and his company T.R.Warszawa. Sound take over words in the poetical scenes in this theater re-adaptation of Pasolini's 1968 most evocative movie Teorema (Theorem).At the centre of the story is an upper-middle class family whom routine will be disarrange by the advent of a mysterious guest that will seduce each member of the household, eventually leaving them to their own disgrace.This performance has awakened the public attention with a renewed vigour on an artist famous, not only for his numerous cinematographic and written works but also for the controversy surrounding his mysterious death.

The details of his premature demise have been widely speculated upon and the Italian authorities in charge of the investigation have never found the truth. 2010 the case has been reopened due to the finding of a possible inedited notes written by Pasolini revealing important secrets ofthe politics of those years. However there is no certain proof able to validate these suspects, according to numerous sources this event can possibly be correlated to a car accident in which Pino Pelosi, presumed perpetrator of his murder was involved on the 22th July that caused the death of the man who was with him. Pasolini was brutally murdered on the night of 1st November 1975 and found by a woman at around 6.30 a.m. Investigations into his death suggest that he was cruelly beaten with a stick and run down by his own car on the beach near Ostia, a famous seaside resort in the whereabouts of Rome.His assassination was ascribed to Pino Pelosi 'ragazzo di vita' of only seventeen years at that time. He subsequently pleaded guilty, declaring himself to be the only person present at the time of the slaughter. According to his version of the evening, he met Pasolini at Stazione Termini, the Italian capital railway station, where they agreed to go out for a meal together. Later that night, they would have traveled in Pasolini's car, an Alfa Romeo GTV 2000, in the outskirts of Ostia famous seaside resort in the vicinity of Rome where the tragic homicide took place.The brutal action was allegedly unleashed by a fight caused after a request for sexual favours was brought forward by Pasolini.

Above interview with Pino Pelosi ( In Italian )

According to Mr Pelosi, he was threatened by the same stick eventually used to kill the infamous writer. However this version of the story seems in many ways unconvincing. First of all, as reported by detectives, the stick considered as the crime weapon was rotten to the core, hence making it unlikely to have been able to cause any kind of considerable damage or wound.Moreover the young man's build was way too gaunt and fragile to endanger the writer who was not only attributed with a considerable strength but was also widely regarded as a karate expert. Another anomalous factor was the fact that Pelosi was void of any kind of visible wounds or marks of this alleged fight. Hence making it almost inconceivable to imagine a man of Pasolini stature not offering any form of resistance against such an assailant.

During the years the doubts on this mystery never faded away and new elements of this fateful night have come to light, accredited to Pelosi himself.In May 2005 during an interview with Roberta Torre, an Italian director who was filming a documentary about Rome and its suburbs, Pelosi affirmed unexpectedly notto be the real murderer of Pasolini and that he remained silent for all these years due to the fear that he may put the lives of his family and friends in danger. According to these revelations, a new reconstruction of events suggests that five men were involved and should have been convicted for the murder.Details of the event and the names of these men were made public only three years after these revelations.

Above : A documentary about Pasolini ( In English)

In fact, an interview to Pelosi released on 12th September 2008 and published on the enquiry work Profondo Nero (Deep Black) written by Giuseppe Lo Bianco and Sandra Rizza, shed new light on the murder. During the interview, Pelosi asserts that the death commando appeared in a second vehicle, a FIAT and that they followed Pasolini and Pelosi to the beach, this being where the murderers decided to make their move. The writer was killed in cold blood whilst the perpetrators yelled "dirty communist" repeatedly. It was argued that a young Pelosi could only witness the event in horror.If Pelosi is to be believed, the motive for such a calculated murder can be traced to the book Pasolini was writing at that time. Petrolio (Oil) as he named it, was supposed to reveal new elements regarding the death of Enrico Mattei, an Italian public administrator and politician after the Second World War, whom also died under strange circumstances on the 27th October 1962. Mr Mattei perished during a routine flight from Sicily to Milan Linate Airport.The book was also a direct attack against the right party's economic strategy and their will to put the public in alarm of a hypothetical danger in order to maintain their political power.Partly published posthumously, Petrolio still represent a source of questions and assumptions as thirty-five years after Pasolini's death the riddle of the director's murder is still far from solved.

By Elisa Fabbri