DVD: RoGoPaG | Film reviews, news & interviews
Pasolini short is the stand-out contribution in this 1960s collaboration
Even though their names are bound together in the portmanteau title, the directors of the four short films that make up RoGoPaG - Rossellini, Godard, Pasolini and Gregoretti - don't go for any sort of narrative tie-ins. The only thing that links the films are the Sixties themes: nuclear annihilation, the shifting role of women and the rise of consumer capitalism. The largely unsatisfying results would only recommend themselves to the dedicated arthouse fan or movie historian were it not for Pasolini's inspired contribution, La Ricotta.
The generosity of vision in Pasolini's La Ricotta puts the other three contributions to shame
This segment, which includes a striptease by the Virgin Mary, landed the Italian director a four-month jail sentence for offending the state religion. Of the four short films, it's the only one that warrants our undivided attention, even though little really happens. A film director played by Orson Welles presides over a crucifixion scene, while around him his cast and crew fool about, dance and eat. One extra, Stracci, too poor to buy his own meal, steals several huge slabs of ricotta, wolfs them down and, during the filming of the crucifixion scene in which he hangs from a cross, dies from indigestion.
As with so many Pasolini films it's part comedy, part tragedy, part social critique. And much of the joy of the movie is found in Pasolini's audacious changes of tone and tack, in which he careers unceremoniously from Benny Hill-style running around to ravishing reconstructions of Baroque paintings to neorealist simplicities. The generosity of vision here puts the other three contributions to shame.
That said, Godard's offering, Il Nuovo mondo, is nicely counterintuitive and in part brilliant. A nuclear bomb is detonated over Paris and the reaction on the ground is not panic but an eerie normalcy. Daily life grinds on. The only sign of the fallout? Mass pill-popping. A clever scenario ruined by Godard's chronic inability to relay how real people behave in real life, especially when it comes to relationships.
Bookending the series are two more prosaic contributions. Roberto Rossellini's Illibatezza, a misogynistic and unrealistic little tale of an air hostess who pretends to be a whore in order to calm the advances of an older man, is detailed but dull. And Ugo Gregoretti's Il Pollo ruspante, charting the demise of a family driven to madness by materialism, suffers from an overly didactic spirit.
Watch the trailer to RoGoPaG
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
A touching transvestite romcom from François Ozon
A rediscovered German classic about a mother and child's wartime bond
Oscar champ stars Michael Keaton as a Hollywood Icarus braving Broadway heat
Style over substance in the supposed 'first Iranian vampire Western'
theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top movies out now
Howard Hawks' airmen adventure re-released in a new restoration
Long-delayed comeback displays appetite for self-destruction
Stand-out performance from Steve Carell in potent Oscar-nominated psychological drama
Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart reflect on ageing, acting and everything
Sam Fuller's journeys to hell supersede his movie career in his daughter's documentary
Newcomer Sarah Gadon shines in film that is no royal flush
Frederick Wiseman's masterful portrait of an institution is made for piecemeal consumption