Pasolini as film critic



Considerations on some film reviews by filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini

Pier Paolo Pasolini needs no introduction, because he is widely known in Brazil, in his multiple facets; however, one of his activities, that of cinematographic critic, exercised sporadically between 1959 and 1974, has not been studied among us. Cinematographic reviews were published by Pasolini in the ears of some published scripts and in periodicals. Reporter (December 1959-March 1960), new life (October 1960-January 1965), Time illustrated (October 1968 - January 1969), paese sera (May 1970), Playboy (January-February 1974), cinema new (May-October 1974) and The messenger (October 1974).

The 1960s were of intense work for the journalist Pasolini, since, in addition to the aforementioned magazines and newspapers, he collaborated with other vehicles – L'Espresso, The day, Rebirth, Comparison, New arguments, cinema and film, Bianco e nero, film criticism –, in which he published several texts on language, literature, art, cinema, politics, almost all gathered in Heretical empiricism (heretical empiricism, 1972), The belle bandiere (the beautiful flags, 1977) e Chaos (The chaos, 1979). An activity that continued in the following decade, since, from January 7, 1973, he started to answer for the “Tribuna tighten” section of the newspaper Il corriere della sera, in which he focused on the anthropological and cultural changes in Italian society over the last ten years, in articles later grouped in corsari script (corsair writings.

Despite other writings on cinema published in periodicals, this text focuses on those in which Pasolini exercised film criticism, organized by Tullio Kezich in volume I filmed below (1996). It consists of thirty-five articles in which he analyzed films by Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti; Pietro Germi, Franco Rossi, Mauro Bolognini; Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini; Ermanno Olmi, Florestano Vancini, Marco Ferreri, Bernardo Bertolucci, Liliana Cavani, Maurizio Ponzi, Sergio Citti, Enzo Siciliano, Nico Naldini; Sergei Eisenstein, Sergei J. Jutkevic; Ingmar Bergman; Paul Vecchiali, François Truffaut; Stanley Kramer, Robert Wise and Michel Gordon, in addition to commenting on other directors and some actors that he admired (Anna Magnani, for example) or abhorred (Alberto Sordi, just to name the most criticized): “in the end, the world of Anna Magnani is similar, if not identical, to Sordi: both Romans, both from the people, both dialects, deeply marked by an extremely particular way of being (the way of being of plebeian Rome, etc.). Anna Magnani, however, was very successful, even outside Italy […]. The mockery of the woman from the people of Trastevere, her laugh, her impatience, her way of shrugging her shoulders, her hand in her lap above her 'tits', her 'disheveled' head, her look of disgust, her pity, her affliction: everything became absolute, stripped of local color and became an international exchange commodity. […].

Alberto Sordi, no. […]

Only we laugh at Alberto Sordi's comic […]. We laughed and left the cinema ashamed of having laughed, because we laughed at our cowardice, our indifferentism, our infantilism.

We know that Sordi, in fact, is not the product of the people (like the authentic Magnani), but of the petty bourgeoisie, or of those non-working-class popular layers, those found especially in underdeveloped regions, which are under the ideological influence of the petty-bourgeois” .[1]

The reviews also served for Pasolini to exalt his own work as a screenwriter (especially works prior to his debut as a director) and as a director in relation to films that were contemporary with his productions, as happened, in 1969, with The Damned (the damn gods), by Visconti, and Satyricon (Fellini – Satyricon), by Fellini, who judged “commercial” and “inferior” to his pork (Pigsty); although he later recanted for the “brutality” and “levity” of his statement, Pasolini concluded: “Nevertheless, in that crude sentence, I said what I believe to be the truth”. In this sense, the most significant texts are those involving his controversial participation in the magazine Reporter, since in them, like other filmmakers who exercised film criticism before starting to film, Pasolini defended his concept of cinema.

It is odd to see him collaborating with this weekly magazine of news, variety and customs financed by MSI – Italian Social Movement, a party founded in 1946 by former members of the Italian Social Republic or Republic of Saló (1943-1945). According to Adalberto Baldoni, the creation of the magazine, in 1959, responded to the intention of the MSI to stand up to other right-wing periodicals, such as Il borghese e The mirror (in order to dispute votes with the Christian Democracy), and to curb the hegemony that the left had achieved in the cultural field since the second post-war period.

At that time, Pasolini was already a collaborator of The day e paese sera (left-wing bodies) and, in the articles he wrote for Reporter, never hid or camouflaged his Marxist ideology. For Tullio Kezich, as recorded by Baldoni, in the strange marriage with the right – which would be repeated when he collaborated with Il corriere della sera –, he used his section to settle accounts with friends and enemies, without having to give satisfaction to anyone for his opinions, since there was no interference from editors or directors, as could happen in left-wing journals. And so, he distributed his blows, mainly hitting his enemies, since he was much more condescending with those he admired and with whom he was honored or was part of his circle of friends.

Pasolini declared: “Doing a review, even from a not exactly critical point of view, such as a review of a film in a weekly newspaper, is always a complex operation, however simple it may be, however quick it may be. It implies, on the part of the one who makes a judgment, an entire ideological system, no matter if it is conscious and rational, or unconscious and intuitive”.

As it is impossible to comment on all the reviews written by Pasolini, I have chosen to present some cases that exemplify how he read the films of the aforementioned directors. Although there are interesting considerations about foreign filmmakers, I will focus mainly on Italian cinema, taking into account a statement by Pasolini himself: “a bad Italian film displeases us, offends us, involves us. A bad American film simply bores us.”

In this statement, for us, it does not fail to echo Paulo Emilio Salles Gomes when he proclaimed that the worst Brazilian film was better than the best foreign film, in the sense that both assumed a more ideological than aesthetic attitude towards production. cinematography of their countries, since national films would reveal and reflect the local society.[2]

In the article “Amor de macho”, published in the lampoon a month after the death of the italian filmmaker, Glauber Rocha, when remembering him, wrote that Pasolini's tribe was made up of Alberto Moravia (chief), Sergio and Franco Citti (bandits) and Bernardo Bertolucci (rebel son), names present in the screen reviews. To them can be added those of the writer Enzo Siciliano and Nico Naldini, cousin of the Bolognese poet, both authors of a single cinematographic work, praised by the reviewer: the fiction film The couple (1968) and the documentary Fascist (1974), respectively.

Pasolini considered Moravia an exception as a film critic, as he was neither superficial, like most, nor prone to provincialism, much less to dogmatism, like those on the left. Moreover, he judged his novel La noia (The boredom, 1960) greater than The night (At night, 1960), as an expression of the “anti-human condition of man in today's society”, making fun of the dialogues in Antonioni's film. It is curious that Moravia himself, when reviewing The night, considered Antonioni one of the few filmmakers “whose films, translated into prose, would not do poorly compared to the most sophisticated products of modern narrative”. Pasolini was even less fond of The eclipse (the eclipse, 1962), but appreciated Deserto rosso (the red desert, 1964), in which the director from Ferrara “was finally able to see the world with their eyes, because she identified her delirious vision of aestheticism with the vision of a neurotic”, reaching “poetic intoxication”. In addition to finally accepting the theme of alienation in Antonioni's view, in his review, he highlighted above all the "poetic" aspects of the film, using arguments (including those cited above) that, in an excerpt from his essay "Il cinema di Poetry" (" Poetry cinema”, 1965), were reproduced almost ipsis litteris.

As for Bertolucci, in Partners (1968), Pasolini praised the distance that the young director knew how to create between what was represented on the screen and the spectator, who was constantly asked to judge what was being shown, but, at the same time, criticized his inability to detach himself from “ uninterrupted series of quotations and imitations”, while following the Godardian line.[3] The Bolognese filmmaker maintained a posture of admiration/antagonism[4] towards Jean-Luc Godard and did not hide his dislike for New wave – “I will not talk about the New wave, because everyone is fed up”, he wrote in 1960 –, not even that he practically abhorred Truffaut. When referring to Persona (Persona, 1966), by Bergman, although he considered it “a splendid film”, Pasolini did not disagree with the Godardian traces, which he detected in the editing and in the presence of some “'profilmic' mannerisms (the camera on stage, for example)”.[5]

As Gianni Borgna recalls, however, he did not fail to pay tribute to the Swiss filmmaker, with regard to experimentalism, in The Gospel according to Matthew (The Gospel According to Matthew, 1964), and even in his poetic work: “Una disperata vitalità” (“A desperate vitality”), which is part of the volume Poetry in the form of rose (1961-1964), began with the verse “As in a Godard film […]”.

Sergio Citti was transformed by Pasolini into a kind of organic director (borrowing the Gramscian term), since he came “directly of a popular world”, the same world that he took to the screens. Not for that reason, however, could it be considered a naive (that is, an amateur, in the reviewer's definition), because he was fully aware of the formal operation he carried out in his work, while still preserving some residual feelings in a raw state. With that, he was able to achieve a degree of reality that is hardly achieved in the best auteur cinema.

Unlike Pasolini, who signed (along with Citti) the film's script, Moravia considered Ostia (1970) one of the rare examples, if not the only one, of “cinema naive": "O naive, with regard to the relationship between art and society, is the opposite of the artist. He does not believe in social conventions and, above all, he knows that if he wants to make art, he must not believe in them: but he is capable of offering a representation of himself, as he would any other object. O naive, on the contrary, believes in social conventions or, at least, thinks that one should believe in them: for this reason, he represents them in a conformist and respectful way, as befits a privileged subject, deserving of a specific treatment. The result is that the artist's poetry must be sought in expressive modules, while that of the naive it is in what is unconscious, which, despite it, is visible in its scrupulous representation. […]

Ostia it is a remarkable film and, within its genre, as we said, unique. In it, Sergio Citti recovered a very authentic Rome, in which the disingenuous and sardonic atmosphere of the ancient city of Belli[6] blends in with the squalor of Pasolin's outlying neighborhoods. Citti, however, does not contemplate this reality like Pasolini; he offers it directly, with the complicit naivety of someone who is part of it. One more artist trait naive".

According to Pasolini, Sergio, as a director, and his brother Franco Citti, as an actor, would be discriminated against for being from the periphery and only non-racist critics would be able to appreciate his first film, a film on par with those of Rossellini, in terms of “simplicity and naturalness”. . he considered Ostia "a beautiful film", while he judged Eisenstein's ugly ones, with the exception of Long live Mexico! (1933), precisely because it was not edited by its director. In his cinematographic comments, Pasolini was not afraid to disagree with the opinion of other critics with regard to already established works or filmmakers.

One more example in this sense can be found in his opinions about Visconti, one of his enemies. He expressed some perplexity at the Rocco and His Brothers (Rocco and his brothers, 1960), preferred Senso (seduction of the flesh, 1954) to The earth trembles (to earth terrific, 1948), forgetting that, perhaps, without some of Visconti's formalist “boldness” in framing inspired by pictorial art or in the radical use of non-professional actors who expressed themselves in his popular language, he himself would not have managed to make a film like Beggar.

The Viscontian work that received Pasolini's most merciless criticism was The Damned: “I could talk to you at length about your film. I limit myself, however, to making just one more observation: the use of zum. He represents a stylistic innovation within his work; the adoption of a non-severely traditional expressive medium so easily used by mediocre directors. You, however, have completely absorbed it into your old style, thus making it a mere veneer of expressive novelty, a small concession to the times. You coded it.

There we come to the point: your film (which encoded what's new and confirmed once again what's old) objectively lends itself to a restoration operation. Not for nothing, I watched, astonished, one of those atrocious news programs, generated in the low court of power, which, when filmed while you were going, I think, to a parade, commented: 'Look who's here, a real director '. This implies a reaction against everything that cinema has done and discovered in recent years. A cinematic reaction that is, first and foremost, political.”

No less merciless are his comments on Germi, one of the intellectuals of Catholic origin who rose up against the witch hunt (McCarthyism) in the Italian film industry in the mid-1950s. A damn scam (that damn case) and listing it among the best films of 1959, when reviewing it, Pasolini took the opportunity to attack its author, condemning his indifferentist ideology, his role as a squire of Italian petty-bourgeois morals, “appreciating”, in this sense, the previous film, The Straw Man (the straw man, 1957), in which, in relation to The railwayman (the railway, 1956), the Genoese director would have taken a big step, realizing, but not entirely, that “his ideal character, played by himself, healthy, sentimental, generous and moralistic, despite his goodness and honesty, is 'straw'”.

Pasolini was more condescending towards directors who made their mark in the same period as him – Olmi, Ferreri, Cavani and even Ponzi (film critic who, in 1966, directed the documentary Pasolini's cinema), and Vancini, who, with La lunga notte del '43 (The Night of the Massacre, 1960), brought to the screen a script by Pasolini (and Ennio De Concini), based on the short story “Una notte del '43”, by Giorgio Bassani, a friend of the Bolognese writer.[7]

Because it is not an isolated case, Pasolini's enthusiasm for films based on his own scripts is not without attention. Perhaps the most representative example is that of The bell'Antonio (the beautiful Antonio, 1960), by Bolognini, based on the homonymous book that Vitaliano Brancati had published in 1949. Pasolini, in the novel, did not like the author's system of ideas, which he considered confusing, nor his ambiguous morals, nor the way impotence protagonist's sexuality was eluded, while she appreciated the film precisely because it valued the writer's universe and managed to go beyond the script's own suggestions, revealing an absolutely modern anguish: "The beautiful Antônio is no longer the beautiful Antônio de Brancati and, in part, nor that of the script: his sexual problem is not tempered with a languid and poignant beauty. […] He is an introverted, anguished, sweet character, sometimes too closed, sometimes too expansive: his pain is contained, but contagious, passionate. Bolognini, in short, although with great moderation, made him a romantic character, but not a second-rate, poorly finished one: a primary romanticism, let's say, that is, of a decadent type, as manifested in certain progressive strata of the bourgeoisie. Thus, the anguish that, in the handsome Antônio, provokes his abnormality, has extraordinarily new and current accents”.

Pasolini was part of the writing team for four other achievements of the Tuscan director: Marisa the owl (Marisa's dating, 1957), Young husbands (young husbands, 1958), The angry note (The long night of madness, 1959) e The foolish day (A day to go crazy, 1960). In this, Moravia also collaborated, since the script was based on works by him, rocconti romani (roman tales, 1954) e Nuovi racconti romani (new roman tales, 1959). as for The angry note – in which he enlarged an episode not used in Felliniano The nights of Cabiria (The Nights of Cabiria, 1958), although for many it would be based on his Roman-setting novel Life boys (boys of life, 1955), the same one that will serve as inspiration for Beggar –, Pasolini thought that the world of the lumpenproletariat was not that of the filmmaker, “except indirectly, unless it implies a somewhat complacent and abnormous love”.

According to Roberto Poppi, Bolognini's best films were those in which Pasolin's poetics was most striking, that is, the three transpositions of literary works to the screen. The angry note, in some sequences, brings such evident traces of Pasolini's universe, that it could be classified as a kind of inaugural work of his activity as a director, if Bolognini had managed to bring to the screen his vision in relation to the peripheral Roman world, as already mentioned I had occasion to write.

Without questioning the merits of The bell'Antonio, one cannot forget that it was thanks to its director that Pasolini was able to film Beggar, after the refusal of Fellini, with whom he had collaborated on The nights of Cabiria, in the dialogues in romanesque and in the sequence of the procession of Divino Amor, and in Dolce vita (The sweet life, 1959), in some dialogues (in the sequences of the prostitute's house and the orgy) and in the choice of Alain Cluny to play Steiner. According to Pasolini (as mentioned by Kezich), the French actor would not be out of place in that environment of refined bourgeoisie that was being built around the character of the suicidal intellectual.

Fellini, who had founded Federiz (in partnership with Clemente Fracassi and Angelo Rizzoli) as a result of the success of Dolce vita, ceased to finance not only Beggar, but also The place (Opposite), by Olmi, and Banditi to Orgosolo (Bandits in Orgosolo), by Vittorio De Seta, although his production company aims to promote new talent. In Kezich's opinion (in the book on Dolce vita), the director from Rimini did not understand the importance of these works, which, at the 1961 Venice Film Festival, were hailed as the renewal of Italian cinema.

No case of Beggar, Pasolini submitted himself to a test, filming, editing and sounding around 150 m of film, in addition to having dozens of photographs taken. In a statement quoted by Naldini, the filmmaker said: “Almost all the characters were present […]. The faces, the bodies, the streets, the squares, the huddled shacks, the fragments of housing developments, the black walls of cracked skyscrapers, the mud, the hedgerows, the lawns on the outskirts dotted with bricks and rubbish: everything it presented itself in a fresh, new, intoxicating light, it had an absolute and paradisiacal aspect... a frontal material, but not at all stereotyped, lined up waiting to move, to live”.

Fellini, however, did not like those frontal close-ups inspired by Italian painting of the XNUMXth-XNUMXth centuries, especially Giotto and Masaccio, or the films of Kenji Mizoguchi, Carl Theodor Dreyer and Charles Chaplin (Pasolini's great cinematic passions), shot in black and careless white, with indecisive carts, and withdrew from financing the film. But the photographs fell into the hands of Bolognini, who, impressed by those characters, convinced a young independent producer, Alfredo Bini, to finance the film. And the future filmmaker, despite being aware of “a total lack of technical preparation”, embarked on this new adventure, trusting his “great intimate preparation”: “the sequences of the film were so clear in my head that I didn’t need elements technicians to carry them out” (as reported by Naldini).

Despite never forgetting the slight of the new producer, Pasolini did not fail to appreciate Dolce vita, in a long article that caused controversy. Contrary to Catholic criticism, he considered it a deeply Catholic film, affirming once again the spiritualist matrix of the poetics of this author who, in his opinion, was more neo-decadentist than neo-realist: “For my part, as a man of culture and a Marxist, I to accept as an ideological basis the binomial provincialism-Catholicism, under whose grim sign Fellini operates. Only ridiculous, soulless people – like those who write the Vatican organ[8] –, only the Roman cleric-fascists, only the Milanese moralistic capitalists can be so blind as not to understand that, with Dolce vita, find themselves in front of the highest, most absolute product of recent Catholicism: for this reason, the data of the world and of society are presented as eternal and immodifiable data, with their baseness and abjections, whatever, but also with the grace always suspended, ready to descend: in fact, it has almost always already descended and circulates from person to person, from act to act, from image to image.

[…] It is a work of weight in our culture and a remarkable date. I, as a critic-philologist, can only record it, with all the importance it demonstrates: it is the reopening of a period marked by the prevailing or excessive force of style, neo-decadentism”.[9]

For Kezich, however, what ended up asserting itself in Dolce vita was pantheistic vitalism, which exploded in the aftermath of Trevi Fountain, thanks to the luminous presence of Anita Ekberg, a reading corroborated by Fellini, for whom, despite being a disenchanted portrait of Italian society at the time, his feature film was neither pessimistic nor moralistic, but left a feeling of joy.

Pasolini's reference to Neorealism harks back to Rossellini, whom he always considered a great director, even when it came to General Della Rovere (From scoundrel to hero, 1959), which divided the critics so much, and about which he had reservations. Pasolini said: “Rossellini is Neorealism. In him, the 'rediscovery' of reality – which, in the case of everyday Italy, had been abolished by the rhetoric of the time – was an act, at the same time, intuitive and strongly linked to the circumstances. He was there, physically present, when the cretin mask was taken off. And he was one of the first to realize the poor face of the real Italy”.

although I appreciated Paisa (paisa, 1946) e Francesco Giullare di Dio (Francis, Herald of God, 1950), the Rossellian achievement that most impressed him, that most excited him was Rome city open (Rome, open city, 1944-1945), which made the young Pier Paolo cycle the forty kilometers that separated the village where he lived at the time (Casarsa della Delizia) from Udine, the nearest city where the film was being shown. An enthusiasm that led him to watch it several times, also due to the interpretation of Anna Magnani, and that went beyond the cinematographic field, as he also dedicated to the initial milestone of Neorealism two segments of the poem “La ricchezza” (“Proiezione al 'Nuovo ' di 'Roma città tighten'” and “Lacrime”), published in 1961 in The religion of my time, and here gathered under the title of “In the city of Rossellini”:

“What a blow to the heart: on a poster
faded… I approach, I look at the color
already of old, who has the warm face
oval, of the heroine, the squalor
heroic of this poor, opaque announcement.
I enter at once: seized by an inner clamor,
determined to tremble at the memory,
to consume the glory of my gesture...
I enter the enclosure, in the last session,
without life; deleted people,
relatives, friends, scattered on the seats,
lost in shadow in distinct circles,
whitish, in the cool receptacle...
Then, in the first framings,
grabs me and drags me... l'intermittence
of the heart. I'm in the dark
memory lanes, in the corners
mysterious where the man is physically different,
and the past bathes him with its tears...
So by long use it made me smart,
I don't lose the threads: behold... the Casilina[10],
to which they sadly open
the city gates of Rossellini…
behold the epic neorealist landscape,
its telegraph wires, cobbled streets, pines,
cracked walls, the crowd
mystique lost in daily affairs,
the gloomy forms of Nazi rule...
Almost an emblem, now, the cry of the Magnani,
under the absolute messy locks,
resounds in the desperate panoramic
and in their living and mute glances
the sense of tragedy deepens.
It is there that it dissolves and mutilates itself
the present, and the song of the aedos is silent”.
“Behold the times recreated by force
brutal of burst images:
that light of vital tragedy.
The process walls, the meadow
of the firing squad: and the ghost
far, around, from the periphery
of Rome gleaming in naked whiteness.
The shots; our death, our
survival: survivors go
the boys in the circle of buildings in the distance
in that acrid morning color. And me,
in today's audience, I feel like I have a snake
in the bowels, which squirms: and a thousand tears
appear in every point of my body,
from the eyes to the tips of the fingers,
from the roots of the hair to the chest:
an unmeasured cry, because it springs
before being understood, almost
before the pain. I don't know why hurt
for so many tears I spy
the group of boys walk away
in the acrid light of an unknown
Rome, which barely rose from death,
survivor in the so stupendous
joy of shining in whiteness:
taken by your immediate destiny
of an epic post-war, of the years
brief and worthy of an entire existence.
I see them go away: it is quite clear that,
teenagers follow the path
of hope, among the rubble
absorbed by a glare that is life
almost sexual, sacred in its miseries.
And your stepping away in that light
makes me cry now:
why? Because there was no light
in your future. because there was this
tired relapse, this darkness.
They are adults now: they have lived
this dreadful post war of yours
of corruption absorbed by the light,
and are around me, poor men
for whom all martyrdom was in vain,
servants of time, these days
in which the painful astonishment awakens
to know that all that light,
we live for, was nothing more than a dream
unjustified, non-objective, source
now of lonely, ashamed tears.”

As in his other activities, also when writing his cinematographic reviews, Pasolini was intensely involved with what he wrote, without fear of exaggerating or contradicting himself, as long as, with that, he could, once again, promote a clash.[11] Sui generis as a critic, because in his comments the lack of impartiality was not disguised, Pasolini, more than offering a work of cinematographic criticism of the works on screen, picked out some aspects of a film or a theme, which he deepened. This procedure often ended up revealing less about the object in focus than about the likes, passions, affections and dislikes of this controversial writer and filmmaker.

*Mariarosaria Fabris is a retired professor at the Department of Modern Letters at FFLCH-USP. Author, among other books, of Italian cinematographic neorealism: a reading (Edusp).

Revised and expanded version of “Pier Paolo Pasolini: cinematographic reviews”, published in SOUZA, Gustavo et al. (org.). Film and Audiovisual Studies Socine. São Paulo: Socine, 2012, v. I, p. 95-109.



BALDONI, Adalberto. “Demon the vate?”. In: BALDONI, Adalberto; BORGNA, Gianni. An incomprehensible lung: Pasolini is right-handed and sinister. Florence: Vallecchi, 2010, p 145-313.

BENCIVENNI, Alessandro. “Accattone.” In: GIAMMATTEO, Fernaldo Di (org.). Dictionary of Italian cinema. Rome: Editori Riuniti, 1995, p. 3-4.

BORGNA, Gianni. “Un eccezionale 'compagno-non compagno'”. In: BALDONI; BORGNA, op. cit., p. 13-143.

FABRIS, Mariarosaria. “In the shadow of Pierpà”. In: MIGLIORIN, Cezar et al. (org.). Annals of Complete Texts of the XX Socine Meeting. São Paulo: Socine, 2017, p. 737-743.

GHERARDINI, Francesco. “Comment to the poetry of Montale 'Lettera a Malvolio'” (8 Jan. 2015). Available in commento/alla-poetry-di-montale-lettera-a-malvolio-del-dott-prof-francesco-gherardini- posta-aperto/comment-page-1/>.

KEZICH, Tullio. Noi che abbiamo fatto La dolce vita. Palermo: Sellerio, 2009.

________. "Note"; “Repertorio dei cineasti e dei film citati”; “Sotto la maschera cretina”. In: PASOLINI, Pier Paolo. I filmed below. Parma: Guanda, 1996, p. 173-174, 141-172, 7-14.

MORAVIA, Alberto. Italian cinema: recensioni and interventi 1933-1990. Milan: Bompiani, 2010.

NALDINI, Nico. Pasolini, a life. Turin: Einaudi, 1989, p. 227-239.

PASOLINI, Pier Paolo. “The 'poetry cinema'”; "The unpopular cinema". In: heretical empiricism. Trans. Miguel Serras Pereira. Lisbon: Assírio and Alvim, 1982, p. 137-152, 223-229.

________. I filmed below, op. cit.

POPPI, Robert. Dictionary of Italian cinema: I recorded it from 1930 back then. Rome: Gremese, 1993.

ROCHA, Glauber. “Male love”. the lampoon, Rio de Janeiro, year VII, n. 336, 5-11 Dec. 1975, p. 12-13.


[1] “Nannarella” will be the protagonist of Mom Rome (Mom Rome, 1962), a role that Pasolini wrote especially for her. During filming, however, he fell out with the actress.

[2] The concern expressed by Alberto Moravia, when reviewing some productions from 1968 – is not without a certain kinship. The lion in winter (The Lion in Winter), by Anthony Harvey, Isadora (Isadora), by Karel Reisz and La ragazza con la pistola (The girl with the pistol), by Mario Monicelli: “the worldview expressed in the two foreign films […] is still, even commercialized and trivialized, the one that is typical of Western culture. While the worldview that transpires in the Italian film of actors belongs to the local subculture. We are alluding here to the vile and vulgar degeneration of our now defunct humanism which is called indifferentism”.

[3] It is worth remembering that Bertolucci was Pasolini's assistant director in Beggar (social misfit, 1960) and that he wrote the script for his first feature film The dry commare (The death.

[4] Cf. the essay “Il cinema impopolare” (“The unpopular cinema”, 1970), in which Pasolini, after classifying Godard's provocation as merely formal, accused him of giving in to the message of leftism. Or, as Glauber Rocha said: “For me Godard was an anarcho-rightist genius. He was political and not revolutionary”.

[5] Pasolini, although he considered him a great director, criticized Bergman for his “strictly audiovisual culture” and his tendency to “quote” a certain cinematographic and theatrical tradition. The dream sequence in Beggar, however, “is almost a quote from Smulltronstället, Wild strawberries, 1958, by Ingmar Bergman”, as Alessandro Bencivenni points out.

[6] Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli: dialectal poet, who, in his Sonnets (1884-1891), painted a picture of the popular soul of Rome.

[7] In 1954, Bassani, Pasolini and Vancini had joined the writing team of The lady of the fiume (the river woman), by Mario Soldati.

[8] not only The Roman Osservatore condemned the film, as the Catholic Church promoted a very violent campaign against it: from the pulpits, priests threw anathemas at it and the director himself read, on the portal of a church in Padua, a kind of funeral announcement that invited people to pray for the soul of the sinner public Federico Fellini. Only a few Jesuit friends defended him, as Kezich noted.

[9] Despite being grateful to Pasolini (and Moravia) for the rallies in favor of his film, Fellini mocked the neodecadent label that was affixed to him, as recorded by Kezich in the book on Dolce vita: “Who are the decadents? D'Annunzio, Maeterlinck, Oscar Wilde? So I would be a kind of new D'Annunzio... But I've only read the summary of Pier Paolo's speech, I'll ask him to explain it to me”.

[10] Via Casilina is a road that, leaving Porta Maggiore and running through the countryside south of Rome, leads to the city of Capua (ancient Casilinum), in Campania.

[11] Although it took place in the literary field, because it is quite emblematic, it is interesting to report the attack that Pasolini launched from the pages of New arguments (n. 21, Jan-Mar. 1971), magazine of which he was one of the directors, against Eugenio Montale, when reviewing his book Content: in addition to not liking the work, he criticized its author from an ideological point of view. As a poet, Montale manifested himself in verses, responding to the rhyme, that is, retorting with firmness and virulence to the colleague. In his open letter, entitled “Lettera a Malvolio”, he attributed to Pasolini the same name as a Shakespearean character, taken from the play twelfth night (twelfth night, 1623). In poetry, published in L'Espresso (Dec. 19, 1971), like Malvolio, Pasolini would be someone who hides his hypocrisy behind a rigid and virtuous behavior, when, in reality, he would have known how to take advantage of the intellectual environment in which he operated. The Bolognese writer responded to this and another poem by Montale, “Dove comincia la carità”, with the verses of “L'impuro al puro”, in a calm tone, but full of irony, when attacking the ethical “purity” of which Montale felt invested.

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