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Allegories of Contamination

Allegories of Contamination: Pier Paolo Pasolini's Trilogy of Life

Copyright Date: 1996
Pages: 207
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  • Book Info
    Allegories of Contamination
    Book Description:

    Rumble offers a comparative study based on the concept of 'aesthetic contamination,' which is fundamental to the understanding of Pasolini's poetics.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2346-0
    Subjects: Film Studies, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  5. 1 Pasolini regista civile
    (pp. 3-15)

    By the time Pier Paolo Pasolini made theTrilogia della vita(1971–4), the last three films that he would ever see completed and released to the public in his lifetime, he had already established his reputation in Italy as poet, first of all, and only secondarily as novelist, filmmaker, playwright, theorist, and journalist. But as many of the letters he received from friends and followers show (and Nico Naldini’s recent publication of Pasolini’s collected correspondence makes it possible to see this),² the call to renounce the cinema and return to his position as the poeta civile (national poet) of...

  6. 2 Allegories of Contamination in the Trilogy of Life
    (pp. 16-81)

    One of the paradoxes of Pasolini’s cinema, born of the ‘Visual order’ described by McLuhan and Parker, and beholden to a technology largely responsible for the ideologicalguaranteeof such an order, is the extent to which it is ‘needfully involved’ in subconscious life. Indeed, for Pasolini, cinematic language is ‘primitive,’ ‘irrational,’ ‘oneiric,’ belonging to ‘untamed thought.’³ In this chapter we shall focus upon how such an understanding of the origins of cinematic language translates into elements of style in Pasolini’sTrilogia della vita. Stylisticcontamination(an ideological form of pastiche) is, for Pasolini, as it was in a similar...

  7. 3 Pasolini’s Ironic Recantation: The ‘Abiura dalla Trilogia della vita’
    (pp. 82-99)

    If theTrilogia della vitais concerned with a force of the past capable of displacing the present – capable, that is, of preventing a complete ‘adaptation’ to the present – then Pasolini’s ‘Abiura’ (abjuration or recantation) seems rather dramatic in its assertion of the impossibility of this very project. For in this short recantation, written while he was working on Said and just months before his murder in November 1975, Pasolini appears to admit a sort of ‘defeat’: he will concede to his critics that his nostalgia for a lost sexual innocence, a time before repression, was idealistic and...

  8. 4 Framing Boccaccio: Pasolini’s Adaptation of the Decameron
    (pp. 100-134)

    In 1970, when Pasolini turned to filming theDecameron, it appeared to many that he was abandoning his earlier brand of socially engaged cinema. Pasolini had become known for a style of filmmaking that challenged cinematic and narrative conventions. Moreover, his was a cinema that was often hostile towards its own spectators and towards the general conditions of cinematic reception.¹ Pasolini’sDecameronattracted immediate criticism for its accessibility from among the élite audience of avant-garde films, spectators whose élitist consumerism, for Pasolini, was merely a pretentious copy of the consumerism of the popular audiences. Before theDecameron, Pasolini’s openly (and,...

  9. 5 Afterword: Homosexualities, the Sacred, and the Paying of Debts
    (pp. 135-144)

    A brief meditation is here necessary to deal with the question of Pasolini’s homosexuality and its significance for the study of his work. The fact of an artist’s homosexuality is, in recent theoretical debates, often held to be determinant of his or her production; often this position also holds that any discussion of a gay artist’s work that does not privilege somehow the significance of the artist’s sexuality is guilty of a certain repression, denial, or phobia regarding that sexuality. For me this must remain an open question (vexed by issues of essentialism and determinism). However, if the view I...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 145-174)
  11. Appendix: Film Credits and Synopses
    (pp. 175-182)
  12. Pasolini Filmography
    (pp. 183-184)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 185-202)
  14. Index
    (pp. 203-207)