Analysis Of Pier Paolo Pasolini's 'A Cinema Of Poetry'

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Pier Paolo Pasolini’s reputation as a great mind on art and culture in the mid-twentieth century is often centred upon his theoretical work ‘A Cinema of Poetry’ (1965), where he stressed the similarities between poetry and film. However, when considering the contrasting qualities of literature and film, one can look to Pasolini as artist. Before 1965, his creative focus shifted from poetry to film in edging closer towards his ultimate aim; finding what he called ‘the written language of reality.’ Studying Pasolini’s early film in reference to his poetry demonstrates a quest for an ideal combination of devices and conceits taken from the both media to bring about this aim. In a sense, one could suggest the camera’s production of a complete visual…show more content…
In relation to how media may ‘record’ reality, Pasolini’s poetic form draws similarities with how his camera pans through city landscapes. Maurizio Viano said of Pasolini’s film criticism that ‘cinema ‘writes’ with real objects that compose a shot.’ However, this appears to predate his film work, as is evident in his poetry. As the subject walks the streets of Trastevere in poems ‘Serata Romana’ and ‘Il Pianto Della Scavatrice’, excessive enjambment depicts the gradual accumulation of images that create a composite picture of setting. This is in dialogue with relatively uniform line lengths mimicking the gentle pace strolling subjects experience their surroundings. This measured element of Pasolini’s literature can be likened to the filmic trope of the panning shot. However, whilst these often record whole settings from afar, in his cinema Pasolini elevates this conceit by endowing viewers with the perspective of the filmed subject, filming from within the setting. Pasolini claims ‘when I make a film I’m always in reality, among the trees and among the people.’ ‘Serata Romana’ also demonstrates this claim. Imperatives such as ‘Go, down the dark crooked streets’ (‘Va, scendi, lungo le svolte oscure’) and There, motionless and disordered’ (‘ecco, ferma e sconvolta’) break the poems undulation to jolt readers into the scene, instead of calmly…show more content…
From the bridge Ettore passes under on his moped, the arched doorway where he and Bruna make love, and the architecture of the hospital where he meets his tragic end, the camera’s repeated return to archways serves as an important symbol, colouring the setting with meaning. This is one instance of how Pasolini crafts his films settings beyond mere recordings of landscape. Creation of meaning through repeated symbolism is common in poetry, in attempting to represent a visual image through language. However, certain instances of this in Pasolini’s poetry may only be achieved through literary means. In ‘Serata Romana’, scent is given almost equal footing as sight in describing setting, through the linguistically balanced line ‘I see, or rather smell.’ (‘d’osso, o meglio odoro.’) Incorporating non-visual senses bolsters poetry’s case as a representative media compared to film, which as a visual media cannot hope to create atmosphere in the same way. In response to this, Pasolini elevates the visual to seemingly intense and non-realistic levels, colouring film with representation quite literally. In La Ricotta, he plays with colour to create structural senses of repetition. Filippo Trentin argues ‘construction of meaning lies in the opposition between one image and another.’ Pasolini creates meaning by oscillating between the technicolor film-within-a-film and monochrome of the outer plot. This reveals an almost self-conscious

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