Released at the height of New Wave experimentation, this omnibus film was shocking enough to get one of its directors arrested. (The name Ro.Go.Pa.G. derives from its four directors, Rossellini, Godard, Pasolini, and Gregoreti.) Already suspected (correctly) of advocating radical politics and sexual deviancy, Pasolini produced La Ricotta, in which a director (Orson Welles) is filming a lavish passion-of-the-Christ movie on a rugged hillside. His main actor is a starving villager who agrees to be strapped to a cross in exchange for a little food. The films apparent blasphemy earned Pasolini a four-month suspended sentence for undermining state religion. The other three shorts engage in similarly rigorous critique of conventions, both filmic and bourgeois-capitalist: Gregorettis Free Range Chicken superimposes a marketing lecture on stimulating consumption over footage of a familys conformist behavior. And Godards Nuovo Mondo presents a dystopian world in which a nuclear blast produces subtle changes: Citizens behave mechanically and pop pills compulsively.
Wed., Oct. 7, 2009