Antonio D’Agostino – La cerimonia dei sensi (1979)
D’Agostino’s outrageous first movie recalls Pasolini’s Salò but he gives us his own personal vision, exploiting his skills as a former painter, creating a fiercely blasphemous work and taking us into a dreamlike journey (better, a journey fluctuating between a dream and a nightmare) through a mental universe where the subconscious of a young man, after a serious car accident, projects the victim while lying on a hospital bed. D’Agostino keeps on playing with what is real or not, showing obscene and provocative tableaux vivants, imbued with incredible religious and heretic strenght. It’s the journey of this young man as a reincarnation of Messiah, fighting against a totalitarian and fascist society. Soon he will become a danger to the political, legal or religious leaders, who obscenely conjure in order to keep on exercising repression, corruption and depravation on the people, while indulging in the worst orgiastic excesses. It looks like the reinterpretation of Bible and Christ’s martyrdom, transposed in the 70s, along with an up-to-date neofascist Salò or just where Pasolini’s teenagers would be the young people and the SS executioners and senior officials the leaders of modern Italy, in dirty collusion with Church and high classes.
Hence such a a strange and captivating movie, with an unrepeatable series of images and scenes each more and more extravagant, with sequences both grotesque and disgusting (scatophily, urophily, orgy, heresy, bestiality, violence), where our Christ is the link.