Pasolini: Forms of Subjectivity

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

14
Spectatorship

To anyone familiar with the recent history of film theory, the analysis undertaken in the previous five chapters might well have seemed somewhat perverse, since it has been more or less obsessed with the origins of the work of subjectivity in Pasolini himself, or at the very least with the impression his work gives of having an expressive and constitutive origin of some kind. By contrast, subjectivity has become a fundamental and much debated area of film theory not in reference to an original self 'hidden behind' a film--'che si esprime "girando"'--but rather as an aspect of film spectatorship. There are, however, good reasons for having suppressed discussion of spectatorship in Pasolini until now, and good reasons for dedicating the final chapter of our analysis to it.

The first and most compelling reason derives from the nature of the work of subjectivity in Pasolini. As in his journalism and poetry, so in his cinema the history of the work of subjectivity has been read as a history of the negotiation between selfhood and form; that is, between conscious or unconscious manifestations of the need to express a self, and the restraints and filters of the languages, arenas, media, and genres of that self-expression. In other words, his work has been read not only as a symptom ( Valesio, 1980-1) of universal patterns of subjectivity, but also as a site for the active confrontation and transformation of those patterns. And the starting-point for that confrontation in Pasolini is invariably a loud, often over-anxious declaration of the presence and the importance of the speaking subject in every act of enunciation. 'Bisogna esporsi' (you must display / expose yourself), he wrote in 'La crocifissione' (B1, 376), and the same image recurs in one of several deeply personal interludes in EE, in the essay "'Il cinema impopolare'":

Vorrei accentuare la parola esibizione. La vocazione alle piaghe del martirio che l'autore fa a se stesso [. . . ] non ha senso se non è resa esplicita al massimo: se non è appunto esibita [. . . ]. Egli nell'atto inventivo, necessariamente scandaloso, si espone--e proprio alla lettera--agli altri. ( EE274)

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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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