This consists of four short films by different directors. Rosselini's 'Chastity' ('Illibatezza') deals with an attractive air hostess who receives the unwelcome attentions of a middle aged ... See full summary »
This consists of four short films by different directors. Rosselini's 'Chastity' ('Illibatezza') deals with an attractive air hostess who receives the unwelcome attentions of a middle aged American. Godard's 'New World' ('Il Nuovo Mondo') illustrates a post-apocalypse world the same as the pre-apocalyptic one but for an enigmatic change in attitude in most people, including the central character's girlfriend. In Pasolini's 'Curd Cheese' ('La Ricotta'), a lavish film about the life of Jesus Christ is being made in a poor area. The impoverished people subject themselves to various indignities in the name of moviemaking in order to win a little food. The central character is hoisted up on a cross for filming, and dies there. Finally comes Gregoretti's 'Free Range Chicken' ('Il Pollo Ruspante') in which a family of the materialist culture inadvertantly illustrate the cynical, metallic voiced doctrine of a top sales theorist. Written by
Rossellini's episode "Illibatezza" is a technically precarious, poorly scripted excuse to a) make an advertisement for Alitalia; b) use unimaginative archive footage of Bangcok and c) film extensively Rosanna Schiaffino's body and face - it's really amateurish, a crying shame from such an important filmmaker.
Godard's atmospheric episode examines post-nuclear effects on human behavior and is a clear criticism on nuclear policy, Moscow and absolutism (notice the newspaper headlines, and the way Alessandra keeps robotically repeating "Absolutely"). It's also a study on Alexandra Stewart's beauty and on sound editing. But above all it revisits the lovers'-quarrel-in-an-apartment-theme so dear to Godard (cf. "Breathless", "Une Femme est une Femme"), preparing his extraordinary 30min chef-d'oeuvre apartment sequence in "Le Mépris", his next film, and is in some ways a sketch for his later "Alphaville".
Pasolini's "La Ricotta" must rank among his best. It has: a) beautiful color tableaux of the crucifixion, emulating Italian Renaissance painting, especially the Florentines; b) a Fellini-like taste in movement, humor, overlapping dialog and crowd directing; c) contagious Italian pop theme by Carlo Rustichelli; d) Orson Welles's (whose great effort here is to manage reading his cue cards in Italian) self-mocking/realistic character -- a once famous American director who is forced in his decadent years to film low-budget epic films in Italy; e) Pasolini's beautiful, prophetic poem from his Mamma Roma's film journal about artists who are caught in "the borders of the eras"; f) of course, an acid criticism on capitalism and the bourgeoisie; and g) a joyful attempt to humanize (i.e. anti-deify) Jesus and the Gospel, much in the way Rossellini had done with the life of St. Francis of Assisi in 1950's "Francesco Giullare di Dio". Pasolini had to face ferocious Vatican confrontation and lawsuits because of this episode, but he went on to make the revolutionary and much misunderstood "The Gospel According to St. Matthew" in 1964.
Very interesting note: in the Italian language version (which is of course post-dubbed, as is the norm in Italian cinema) when the journalist asks the director (Welles) what he thinks about "the great Italian director Federico Fellini" you can see the Italian actor who plays the journalist clearly articulating "...the great Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini"!!! It says a lot about Pasolini's fame even then and also about how Pasolini mended his coup de vanité in the dubbing so as to finally use the name of his friend Fellini. Oh, and by the way Welles's answer is: "Egli danza....egli danza!" which means "he dances...he dances!".
Gregoretti's episode "Il Pollo Ruspante" is well written and interesting, and impressively prophetic of the theories of consumerism and capitalism that are valid still today, in our "post-industrialized" world. Some scenes are too literal (like the one actually showing the chickens eating in a restaurant) and the end is a little bit too heavy, but it has pace and good acting.
Overall, Godard and Pasolini definitely make "Rogopag" a worthwhile film. If you're in a hurry you can (sorry to say) just skip Rossellini's episode. My vote for GOPA (Godard+Pasolini): 8/10. My vote for all ROGOPAG: 6/10.
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