It’s funny how some movies make their way to the screen. Or don’t, as the case may be. Take Pasolini, the 84-minute biopic about notorious Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini; directed by an equally notorious filmmaker, Abel Ferrara and starring Willem Dafoe as the titular filmmaker, Pasolini debuted at the Venice International Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival in 2014. Then it disappeared, for nearly five years, before being dumped in theaters at the beginning of June 2019.
But Pasolini is no hidden gem. The movie is sluggish and slow, provides little insight into the man and his works, and lacks both controversy and illumination. Almost the exact opposite of Pasolini himself: His movies are vibrant, alive, and, in many cases, revelations. One of his best, Mamma Roma, also spent some time in the hinterlands of film distribution, but when Mamma finally made it stateside 33 years after her debut in 1962, it was with great fanfare and acclaim. You can stream Mamma Roma on The Criterion Channel because the past you will always have with you.