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Other People’s Films

Pier Paolo Pasolini

From the late 1950s, before he began making films but when he was already well-known as a poet, novelist and scriptwriter, right up to his death in 1975, Pier Paolo Pasolini wrote occasional film criticism for Italian newspapers and magazines, articles which are translated into English here for the first time. In his inimitably frank style, Pasolini describes his tastes as a film-goer but also his views as a public intellectual. He discusses both Italian cinema—from neo-realism (Rossellini, Visconti) to those who came in its wake (Fellini, Antonioni)—and foreign cinema (Truffaut, Eisenstein, even Stanley Kramer and Pillow Talk), with insightful comments ranging from behind-the-scenes peeks at the film production process to an ideological analysis of comedy in Italian film.

I am probably one of the few intellectuals not to like Eisenstein. I’m quite aware of his great talent, and that he may be the dominant figure of Russian formalism. But I think that all his films are failures, with the exception of ¡Qué viva México!, because he didn’t edit it. Battleship Potemkin is a truly ugly film. Its revolutionary characters display the conformism of the most sectarian propaganda. Potemkin’s sailors are soulless, body-less, sexless beings who act like ‘positive’ puppets. It is not enough to be right and a hero to be alive.
—Pier Paolo Pasolini