Prod.: Gastone Ferranti Per Opus Film; Pri. Pro.: Genova, 13 Aprile 1963 Sog., Scen.: Pier Paolo Pasolini; Aiuto-regia: Carlo Di Carlo; Mo.: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Nino Baragli, Mario Serandrei; Mu.: cantidella Rivoluzione cubana, canti della Rivoluzione algerina, canti popolari russi, Adagio di Tommaso Albinoni, danze del XVIII sec.; Voci: Giorgio Bassani (voce in poesia), Renato Guttuso (voce in prosa); Quadri: Ben Shahn, Jean Fautrier, Georg Grosz, Renato Guttuso; 35mm D.: 53′. bn e col
After finishing his second film, Mamma Roma, in 1962, Pier Paolo Pasolini accepted an offer made by a small newsreel producer, Gastone Ferranti, to make a compilation film about modern society’s problems. originally Pasolini was only supposed to make one segment of a four episode series (by other directors), but Pasolini’s project soon expanded into a feature length film. It was the first experiment of a “new genre” (as Pasolini defined it), that is, a mixture of political statements, historical and social analysis and lyrical diary with two alternating voices, one in prose (Renato Guttuso) and the other in verse (Giorgio Bassani). The visual material was taken from ninety-thousand meters of “Mondo libero” newsreels and mixed with footage from Italy-USSR archives, news magazines, and paintings by Guttuso, Ben Shahn, Grosz and Fautrier. Though it is not clear why, Pasolini agreed to cut out some significant scenes, such as De Gasperi’s funeral, the return of the remains of the soldiers executed in Kefalonia and, in particular, a prophetic sequence against the aberrations of television. The film was reduced to a medium length version which was juxtaposed with another film of the same length directed by Giovannino Guareschi. Ferranti orchestrated a kind of visual “duel” between the two writers, whose films actually really had nothing in common; the gimmick, however, did not catch. At the time, the critics disapproved of it back to back with Guareschi, and the film was quickly ditched. Today Pasolini’s La rabbia seems like a short poem in visually powerful and “graphically” sophisticated images that unabashedly confronts the horrors of Stalinism, the bloody revolt in Hungary and socialist realism’s failure. There is a recurring leitmotif of images of death (bodies left on the ground) and violence (bodies mutilated from torture during the Algerian War). Pictures of Marilyn Monroe, the most famous film industry victim, are flanked by mannequins, beauty pageant competitors and nightmarish visions of nuclear explosions. In his rational yet argumentative commentary, Pasolini deciphers the first unsettling signs of the New Pre-history, citing the imminent extinction of rural culture and the corruption of the word “liberty” brandished “with hatred” against the communist utopia.