Magnani e Pasolini

Venice, 1962

We are the sum of our experiences; uniquely defined by our memories.

We spend a lifetime gathering a collection of treasured object and symbols.
Each of them holding a tiny fragment of our identity.

I’ve been wanting to do a set of posts that present the various images in my head – fragments that belong to another time, another country, another sensibility.

These image-slivers have been with me all my life, and now I realize they’re memories.

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there. L.P. Hartley, “The Go-Between“.


Anna Magnani
The above image represents all the pictures in my head of Italian immigrants at weddings. Real people dancing; dancing before the reality of Lee Harvey Oswald, before the horrors of Vietnam, before the unraveling of Catholicism, and before the assimilation into a Canadian dullness.
But Magnani is real; she’s luminous; her mouth hangs with laughter; her simple black dress caresses her body. There’s fun, there’s heat.
Living in Sault Ste Marie, in a Calabrese community, in the 60s, I had relatives like Magnani.

Pier Paolo Pasolini
Pasolini, with his back to the camera, heralds what’s coming; he’s the reality of Last Tango; he’s the horror of AIDS; he’s the unraveling of the lies of the 1950s; and he’s the assimilation of blacks, women and gays.
But Pasolini is hidden; his head is down; he’s contorted. His vented jacket covers his ass; his pointy shoes squeeze his feet. There’s disquiet; there’s fear.
Living in New York in the heady, lewd 70s, I had friends like Pasolini.


Both the above image and the featured image of Magnani are from online.
The quote is from an episode of Vienna Blood.