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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Orson Welles Lives in SF this week

Posted By on Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 6:00 AM

Film Nerd Alert-- Now you can have the creative genius of both American and Italian filmmaking together in one amazing film!

Actually, this rare gem known as Ro.Go.Pa.G has been around for several decades, but I betcha never heard about it. Ro.Go.Pa.G is a collection of short films turned in by four notable Italian filmmakers of their era. I'm tempted to say it's the Four Rooms of its time but I'm sure some anal geek out there will want to burn my soul for saying so.

In any case, Pasolini's quadrant of the film is titled La Ricotta-- a short about a film crew amidst production headed by a fictional director played by none other than legendary Orson Welles, fresh off shipping his cinematic vision to Europe after getting fed-up with Hollywood politics. The short details Welles and his crew's follies as they scramble to produce a film about the Passion of Jesus despite the indigestion problems of an extra.. Who knew it would take Mel Gibson to get this one out of development Hell?

Fortunately you don't have to fork out serious cheese for the Criterion Collection DVD to see it. There's a free screening of Ro.Go.Pa.G tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Instituto Italiano di Cultura, 425 Washington (at Battery), as part of the Pier Paolo Pasolini Film Series, which screens every Tuesday through Oct. 2. If you want more clips follow the link to this clip.

Read on to learn more about Pasolini

For the next two months, the Italian Cultural Institute presents an inspired film series centering on one of the most prolific and original thinkers in modern Italian history: Pier Paolo Pasolini. Known for his poetry, philosophy, political activism, and linguistic study, Pasolini was truly a multifaceted intellect. Working in a post-World War II film climate dominated by the Neorealist approach seen in films like The Bicycle Thief or Rome, Open City, Pasolini changed the direction of Italian filmmaking. With Pasolini's directorial debut, Accattone (slang that can be roughly translated as ne’er-do-well or beggar), Pasolini subverted Neorealism and developed his own style. Featuring a pimp named Accattone, the film focuses on the bleak and depressed margins of Roman society, amid a den of hustlers, panhandlers, and drinkers. Notorious for its unrelenting darkness, Accattone's reception established the outsider reputation that would follow Pasolini throughout his career.

Time Out recently named Pasolini's last film, Saló, "the Most Controversial Film of All Time," but Porcile (Pigpen), a subtler and equally unnerving work, receives a rare screening during the series. The film (starring Jean-Pierre Léaud) consists of two stories taking place in different eras -- one featuring a patricidal cannibal, the second an ex-fascist pig fucker, with each torn to pieces by animals. And while Pasolini was known to work with nonactors, his films feature beautiful bodies and faces -- Ninetto Davoli, Sylvana Mangano, Anna Magnani, Anne Wiazemsky, and, of course, the catalytic and smoldering young Terence Stamp, who unleashes the desire and sexuality of a bourgeois household by merely passing through one in Teorema.

The Pier Paolo Pasolini Film Series screens every Tuesday through Oct. 2. Today's screening of RoGoPaG starts at 6:30 p.m. -- By Sean Uyehara

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