RoGoPaG (Roberto Rossellini, Jean-Luc Godard, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Ugo Gregoretti / Italy-France, 1963):

The four filmmakers lend their names for the omnibus title, plus a prankish sketch each on the dangers of modernism. Illibatezza is Roberto Rossellini kissing off fiction film, and perhaps giving a shout-out to Joshua Logan while at it (Bus Stop). The subject is the obfuscation of the medium, with the facility of 8mm cameras only heightening the falsity of captured images (vide the filmmaker's critique of Rouch and the Maysles Bros. for the sequel), so back to the womb for Modern Man. The blubbering American with a pitch of Oedipus (Bruce Balaban) woos the flight attendant (Rosanna Schiaffino); she at last manages to douse his ardor by switching from chaste brunette to brazen blonde, and he's left hugging her projection on the wall. Desolating slapstick is also the tone for Pier Paolo Pasolini, whose La Ricotta imagines a film crew camped out by the meadow for a Cinecitt religious epic, presided by a jet-lagged Orson Welles. Extras twist to rock 'n' roll, Welles reads Pasolini's poetry while fielding reporters' inquiries (on Fellini: "Egli danza... egli danza"), and the rushes display painterly, Renaissance tableaux, but the main character is Mario Cipriani, literally a starving actor. He feasts on cheese before actually dying of indigestion on the cross -- the spiritual versus physical needs, an airy jaunt, a rough draft for The Gospel According to St. Matthew. Jean-Luc Godard, meanwhile, tests out Alphaville with Il Nuovo Mondo, the most literal of the work's apocalypses. Nuclear fallout hits Paris, though Godard's Armageddon is strictly emotional: Alexandra Stewart brushing her hair in front of a window, Jean-Marc Bory pondering the crumbling of logic, "I ex-love you," a choreography of people getting in and out of cars (a lateral pan left, following a car, finds an ominously obscured Eiffel Tower for a second or so). Lastly, Ugo Gregoretti projects the gag-thesis in Il Pollo Ruspante, that roaming chicken are far tastier than caged ones -- a splenetic metaphor on free will, proposed by a market professor and essayed by Ugo Tognazzi's bourgeois clan. Kids recite slogans from TV and Topo Gigio is a consumerist whore, all jauntily leading to the system's ultimate breakdown. In black and white.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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