28 October 2010

Pasolini and the shape of cities

Here two marvelous must-see documentaries by P. P. Pasolini.

Le mura di Sana (The walls of Sana) is a film shot in 1970-71 when Pasolini was in Yemen on the location for his movie Decameron:  he addresses it directly to UNESCO, calling for the preservation of the old city of Sana'a, under threat in a period of rapid and aggressive modernization process in the country. In '74 he adds then a sequence with interviews of people about the Italian medieval village of Orte, not far from Rome, which will be the subject of the following documentary.

Pasolini e... la forma della città (Pasolini and... the form of the city) was shot in autumn 1973, sponsored by Italian National TV Company RAI: even if there is some editing by Paolo Brunatto, the film can be easily attributed to Pasolini, who chose to speak about the shape of cities, focusing on Orte and on Sabaudia, one of the five new cities founded by Fascism on the Thyrrenean sea, as part of the national reclaiming program for marshland. Pasolini conceives a "city" referring mainly to its shape and sticking to the idea of a compact, (medieval) core, defined by clear boundaries between built land and nature. With Orte Pasolini can deal with building speculation and its aesthetic consequences; with Sabaudia he addresses Italian '60-'70 socio-cultural changes, comparing them to Fascism.
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