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Ro.Go.Pa.G. 4 Legendary Directors United for a Common Cause


In 1963, Roberto Rossellini, Jean-Luc Godard, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Ugo Gregoretti partook in a project in which they rebelled against the consumerist society.

Rossellini, Godard, Pasolini and Gregoretti are the four names whose initials name a rare cinematic experiment. In 1963, these brilliant filmmakers joined forces ––Each had to create a short film, no longer than thirty minutes, where they would express their particular vision of their era. The result is a multiform mosaic, where the vision of reality and the four directors’ opposing aesthetic become fused in a single discourse.

The boom of Capitalism and the meteoric growth of the consumerist society, made easier by the ascent of a self-complacent, common and bourgeois middleclass,served as the thread that ran through the four creations.

Of the four proposals, perhaps that by Roberto Rossellini, master of film and myth, is the most distant from the general tone. The creator of Roma, Open City lingers in an unoriginal Italian style comedy called Virginity, where a traveler falls madly in love with a stewardess. However, even though it does not tend to analysis or philosophical thought, the film indirectly portrays that consumerist pulse that branches out towards feelings and lust.

With his usual impenetrability and heterodoxy, Godard impresses a fairly unpleasing vision of the future in The New World.  Anticipating his memorable Lenny Against Alphaville,he designs a dystopian future: after a nuclear catastrophe, the dumbfounded protagonist contemplates how people begin to behave as automatons. With very few elements, the creator of Pierrot achieves an atmosphere of absolute estrangement in a story which is eloquent, yet difficult to penetrate.

Pasolini is, doubtless and in his own right, the main character of the Ro.G.oPa.G. His film, La Riccota, condenses all of his knowledge while it admirably synthetizes his political discourse and his acid Marxist criticism of society. With the appropriate apparition of Orson Welles, the Italian virtuoso builds an allegory surrounding the differences between social classes, creating a portrait, not without humor, of the industrial working-class and the bourgeois middle-class dominated by indolence and inanity. The film earned Pasolini four months in prison, charged with “vilifying the religion of the state”.

Ugo Gregoretti, perhaps the least known of these four directors, offers the most amusing proposal without letting go of the opportunity to invite us to have a corrosive reflection around the consumerist society. In The Chicken on the Farm, he inserts images of a conference about consumerism with scenes of a middle-class family, thus preparing a delicious narrative that uses humor to dissimulate a troubling dramatic latency.

Ro.Go.Pa.G comprises a polyptych where we can all see ourselves reflected, a particular magnifying glass in which we see the defects of a system to the point of deformity, that since then has done little else than increase its own contradictions. Let us accept, then, these four great directors’ invitation to ponder on our time and our way of life.

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