Pasolini: Forms of Subjectivity

By Robert S. C. Gordon | Go to book overview

13
Being and Film--Time

In the dominant motifs and the recurrent metaphorical practices of Pasolini's films and theoretical writings, two related governing figures emerge to bind the filmic discourse to that of the subject and its constantly frustrated desire for stability, plenitude and meaning: the Real and the past. The Real, or in its more distilled manifestation, the body (Ch. 7) is both the source of the highly visual nature of Pasolini's film, and an expression of an axiomatic, even mythological belief subtending all his work: 'che io usi la scrittura o che io usi il cinema altro non faccio che evocare nella sua fisicità, traducendola, la Lingua della Realtà' (whether I use writing or the cinema I never do anything other than evoke in its physicality, by translating it, the Language of Reality, EE 268). The strength of his reliance on the axiomatic value of the Real is demonstrated by his refusal to modify it despite the threat it represented to the whole edifice of his semiological theories, as several more 'professional' semioticians were wont to point out.1

Contact with reality is, for Pasolini, charged with sensuality:

Le cinéma me permet de maintenir le contact avec la réalité, un contact physique, charnel, je dirais même d'ordre sensuel. ( Duflot, 1970, 17)

(Cinema allows me to keep up contact with reality, a physical, carnal, I would even say sensual contact.)

____________________
1
See Bettetini, 1973, 8-9, 54-7; Eco, 1968, 150-60; Garroni, 1968, 14-17, 43-4. Much of what Pasolini says is not, however, so semiologically naïve as they suggest. Despite examples of rhetorically categorical assertions such as 'What is the difference between cinema and reality? Practically none' ( Stack, 1969, 29), his formulations invariably acknowledge that reality is coded and partakes of culturally determined mediation. Thus cinema is 'la lingua scritta della realti' (the written language of reality), or 'tecnica audio-visiva' (audio-visual technique, EE 203; emphases added). Indeed, far from shirking codes, he uses nine in his model of articulations in "'Tabella'" ( EE: 297-301). And in direct reply to Eco's criticisms, he writes: 'tutte le mie caotiche pagine [. . .] tendono a portare la Semiologia alla definitiva culturalizzazione della natura' (all my chaotic pages [. . .] tend to bring Semiology to the definitive culturalization of nature, EE283). For a convincing rehabilitation of Pasolini's theory, see De Lauretis, 1980-1 and 1984, 40-52.

-240-

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Pasolini: Forms of Subjectivity
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Plates xi
  • Abbreviations and References xii
  • Introduction: The Work of Subjectivity 1
  • Part I - Pasolini's Public Work 9
  • 1 - The Contours of a Career 12
  • 2 - Projects in Journalism 23
  • 3 - Vocations 75
  • Part II - Poetry: A Movement of Forms 85
  • 4 - 'Who is Me': The Impulse to Autobiography 90
  • 5 - 'Pura Luce': a Vision of History 114
  • 6 - 'Un Folle Identificarsi': Figuring the Self 138
  • 7 - Mio Corpo Insepolto': The Body and the Father 161
  • 8 - Poetry into Cinema 184
  • Part III - Cinema: Tracking the Subject 187
  • 9 - Authority and Inscription 191
  • 10 - Style and Technique 205
  • II - Genesis and Intertextuality 219
  • 12 - Metaphor 228
  • 13 - Being and Film--Time 240
  • 14 - Spectatorship 251
  • Part IV - Unfinished Endings 265
  • 15 - Petrolio: Self and Form 267
  • Bibliography 293
  • Index 313
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