Jesse's Reviews > Theorem

Theorem by Pier Paolo Pasolini
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's review
Oct 14, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2009, film-and-lit-connections
Read in October, 2009

Probably best appreciated in conjunction with the much more famous film, of which this is neither its source material nor an after-the-fact novelization. According to its creator, both were conceived and created simultaneously ("the book had been painted with one hand while the other he was on a fresco—the film" is how the introduction paraphrases Pasolini's own explanation), and while it certainly does shed some light on some of the more opaque actions in the film (particularly all the running around the characters seem to do), the novel certainly does precious by way of "explaination." Instead it reveals different facets of the work, mostly of the internal sort, but at the same time it unveils its own sets of riddles and mysteries. The Vistor—Dionysus? Christ? Demon? Angel? Death?—remains as enigmatic as ever, though his presence, and subsequent loss, is just as deeply felt as the lives of those he leaves (abandons?) spin dizzyingly out of control, elegantly conveyed in both prose and poetry.

Both film and novel are of the type that make me wish I knew so much more—more about mythology, Biblical history, European Marxism, art, religious mysticism, Pasolini himself and his own personal mythology, even "inconsequential" topics like Italian geography...

"In any case this is certain: that whatever/ this scream of mine tries to say/ it is fated to last beyond any possible end."
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