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Pasolini’s ghost (via Morrissey).

Pasolini’s ghost (via Morrissey). (photo)

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On his 2006 single “You Have Killed Me,” Morrissey dug deep into the reference well for opening lines that it’d take a cinephile to love: “Pasolini is me. Accattone you’ll be.” It’s likely the only English-language song to reference not just Pier Paolo Pasolini but “Accattone,” his unrelievedly grim 1961 writer-director debut. But, the eternal question: what does it mean?

Pasolini’s filmography is incredibly diffuse and hard to pin down. At least one of his films — “The Gospel According to Matthew” (Pasolini’s militant atheism led him to remove the “Saint”) — is a stone-cold classic, endorsed by film buff and Vatican alike. He’s also responsible for the notorious “Salo” and dabblings in a particularly academic/theoretical type of documentary (his “Notes Towards An African Orestes” is a nearly indigestible mixture of touristic/anthropological footage, Greek myth and free jazz).

And yet Pasolini is, unfortunately, best known for being murdered under mysterious circumstances. Italy was (and still can be) a violent place, and certainly the controversy-steeped Pasolini courted all kinds of troublesome attention from unwanted corners. At age 53, he was first violently beaten, then run over several times with his own car. It was all kinds of suspicious: a sweater in the car belonged neither to him nor the alleged criminal (who retracted his confession in 2005), and bloody fingerprints were never checked. Say what you will about the CIA, at least they’ve never bumped off any militant directors.

This well-known story is as the Independent reports, popping up again due to calls to reopen the investigation and make use of DNA tests. A conspiracy theory about it being a political killing ties in not just with an article Pasolini wrote before his death claiming he knew names of people hiring hitmen, but with the generally turbulent climate of the time — the equal conspiracies surrounding, say, Prime Minister Aldo Moro, kidnapped and killed in 1978 shortly after a plan to integrate communists into the majority government was announced.

03242010_orestes.jpgAll this serves to remind that Pasolini’s image can be claimed and reclaimed however you like; for a man prone to blunt statements about class, he’s awfully ambiguous. Back to Morrissey: having claimed self-identification with Pasolini, he takes it a step further: “As I live and breathe, you have killed me.” Furthermore: “I walk around somehow, but you have killed me.” On one level , this is almost certainly about Moz repudiating celibacy — but look at it again and he seems to be saying that Pasolini’s ghost walks among us, as alive as ever — preserved, ironically, by his controversial death more than anything.

Here’s Morrissey with the song on Italian TV. The audience cutaways are priceless:

[Photos: “Accattone,” Water Bearer Films, 1961; “Notes Towards An African Orestes,” I Film Dell’Orso, 1970]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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