100 Heroes: Pier Paolo Pasolini

The gay man who became a groundbreaking filmmaker.

100 Heroes: Pier Paolo Pasolini

Born in 1922, Pier Paolo Pasolini was an Italian poet, film director, writer, screenwriter, actor and playwright.

He is considered one of the defining public intellectuals in 20th-century Italian history, influential both as an artist and a political figure.

As a filmmaker, Pasolini often juxtaposed socio-political polemics with an extremely graphic and critical examination of taboo sexual matters.

Personal life and scandals

Pasolini was never far away from controversy and scandal, and his sexual encounters frequently appear to be problematic.

One of the first documented scandals was in 1949 when Pasolini was arrested for publicly masturbating with three boys - he was charged with corruption of minors and obscene acts in public places.

In 1963, at the age of 41, Pasolini met Ninetto Davoli - a 15-year-old boy. Pasolini was clearly devoted to Davoli, and cast him in his 1966 film, Uccellacci e uccellini.


Pasolini was murdered in 1975.

It was a brutal crime - Pasolini was abducted and tortured before he was killed.

There was a lot of speculation about the murder, with investigations indicating that it was likely to have been a contract killing ordered by a criminal organisation with close links to far-right nationalists.