PETROLIO – An unfinished testament

PETROLIO – An unfinished testament

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Istituto Italiano di Cultura Sydney

Level 4 125 York street

Sydney, NSW

Australia

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Book Club dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s birth

About this event

The Italian Cultural Institute and the Dante Alighieri Society of Sydney are pleased to invite all reading enthusiasts to an evening dedicated to one of the greatest Italian intellectuals of the 20th century, Pier Paolo Pasolini, on the occasion of the centenary of his birth. The evening will be introduced by Dr Angelo Gioé, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Melbourne and a great expert and enthusiast of Pasolini's work, to whom he has dedicated his movies.

The event is part of the series of meetings organized by the Book Club LibrInsieme of the Dante Alighieri Society of Sydney, a reading group formed in November 2020 dedicated to contemporary and modern Italian literature and organized by Antonella Beconi and Robert Farotto. Each book is examined during three meetings, i.e: presentation of the book and the author, group discussion on the book and (if possible) final meeting with the author live from Italy. Book Club participants read each book individually between the meetings, which take place every two weeks via video call (on Zoom), when the book is discussed. From 2021 the Book club has participated in the popular jury of the Strega Prize as a Literary Presidium.

The book that will be examined during this special meeting of the Book Club, which will be held at the Italian Institute of Culture’s premises, is the last, unfinished work by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Petrolio. Left unfinished at his untimely death in 1975 and published in Italy in 1992, this meta-literary excursion into the life of left-wing Italian Catholic Carlo (who in fact has a split personality) was to have been the multitalented Pasolini's crowning achievement. The novel explores the psychological workings of fascism in postwar Italy by mapping connections among the Fascist Party, the Mafia, the CIA and even the Communist Party. Petrolio is made up of a series of notes - some extended and polished narrative passages, others cryptic messages from the author to himself that consist of no more than a few words. At the novel's center is Carlo, an oil executive who undergoes a profound personality split: Carlo 1 is a super-Machiavellian power monger; Carlo 2 lives only to satisfy his perverse and insatiable sexual desires.

All participants in the evening are invited – if they want - to purchase and read the novel Petrolio in order to participate in the discussion, which will be held in ITALIAN.

Pier Paolo Pasolini (Bologna, 5 March 1922 - Ostia, 2 November 1975) was an Italian poet, director, screenwriter, writer, actor and playwright. Culturally versatile, he distinguished himself in numerous fields - literature and cinema among those best known to the general public - also working as a painter, linguist, translator and essayist. Attentive observer of the changes taking place within the Italian society from the second post-war period up to the mid-seventies, as well as controversial figure at times due to his open homosexuality, he often attracted strong controversy and heated debates due to the radical nature of his judgments, very critical of bourgeois values and the emerging consumeristic society, as well as towards the 1968 and its protagonists. Pasolini's sudden and violent death, which took place in circumstances still partially shrouded in mystery, was perhaps in line with the existential philosophy of the great intellectual, and could be summed up in the words of the author himself:

“I love life fiercely, desperately. And I believe that this ferocity, this desperation will bring me to an end. I love the sun, the grass, youth. The love of life has become a more deadly vice for me than cocaine. I devour my existence with an insatiable appetite. How will this all end? I ignore it"

Robert Farotto has always been an avid reader, has followed and led several creative reading and writing groups at the Babelicadante alighieri logo cultural association in Turin (affiliated with ARCI), with which he has collaborated since its foundation. In Sydney he co-founded the LibrInsieme reading group with the Dante Alighieri Society of Sydney, of which he has been a member since 2021. He maintains the contacts of the Sydney Literary Presidium with the Dante Global of Rome.

Antonella Beconi is a professional Italian and German lecturer, and holds a Laurea in Foreign Languages and Culture (majoring in German Studies). She has taught Italian and German at universities and schools around the world, including at the University of Sydney, where she is undertaking a PhD in Italian Studies. Antonella has designed and delivered language courses, coordinated and supported strategic projects, and collaborated and liaised with multiple organisations and stakeholders.

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