This article reads Martin Heidegger’s lectures on dwelling1 alongside Pier Paolo Pasolini’s depiction of Casarsa in “L’Usignolo” (“The Nightingale”)2 and of the Roman periphery in Mamma Roma (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1962). I suggest an affinity between the two intellectuals, as they both perceive an abrupt change in the interaction between man and landscape after World War II: the poetic/archaic approach to the world is disappearing, while the conformity of modern housing projects in Europe constitutes the final result of the death of such a way of living and being. As John David Rhodes affirms3, in his early films Pasolini moulds the Roman cityscape into a metaphor of constriction, rejection, and sacrifice. In illustrating the continuity between Pasolini’s portrayal of peasants relating to their living environment in his Friulian poems and his cinematic treatment of the film’s protagonist Ettore in the suburbs of Rome, this paper explores the transformation in the personification of the landscape from the benign and harmonious companion of Casarsa to the menacing and cruel murderer of the capital evoked by Rhodes. Given his connection with nature and ancient ruins, Ettore belongs to the archaic world depicted in Pasolini’s early poems of Casarsa. His doomed story also recalls the destiny of numerous immigrants who moved from the rural areas of the Agro Romano and from southern Italy to Rome, where capitalist housing development devoured them without ever digesting their presence. I build also on Pasolini’s “cinema of poetry” and on recent influential works on spatiality in the director’s films by Rhodes and Noa Steimatsky4 in order to explore how Ettore is both a “child of nature”, who is able to dialogue poetically with the landscape, and, consequentially, a victim and a Christological figure. Iain Chambers’ Culture after Humanism: History, Culture, Subjectivity5 is also fundamental to my analysis of the relationship between population and urban design in the modern metropolis.

Part I: The Archaic in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Poetic and Cinematic Language

Casarsa

First of all, I would like to establish what I mean by an archaic/poetic approach of the individual to the landscape. The poem “L’Usignolo” provides us an apt illustration. Pasolini’s stay in his mother’s village during and immediately after WWII constitutes his first contact with an archaic world very different from his native city, Bologna. In Casarsa, religiousness still beats the rhythm of everyday life through the tolls of the bell tower, as the dialogic poem exemplifies:

DAWN: My light…

OLD WOMAN: Smokey dawn! White, on the stairs, I go out as the Ave resonates in the air.

DAWN: As your old face, the wind dies in the small square. In the deep silence, people can hear you gasping and your fire crackling.

OLD WOMAN: Maybe, from far, bells are ringing amongst these impoverished houses?

DAWN: Yes, but you do not have much time left to pray the far away Ave and to exhaust your breath blowing on the haze and breaking twigs against your quivering knee…6

Pasolini’s concept of archaic, however, cannot be limited to the attunement of everyday life to faith and liturgy and to the survival of the sacred in the contemporary era, as the entire collection worships mainly those lives that are still able to maintain a respectful dialogue with nature and the rest of humanity. In this poetic fragment, Pasolini intermingles and dissolves the boundaries between humanity, nature, and inanimate objects, giving the same importance to each element in the evocation of routine in the village. It is in this harmonic balance between animate and inanimate objects – humans included – that the poet situates the final meaning of the “archaic”. In the Friulian village, the personified dawn – alba – is as concrete as the old woman with whom it interacts, but, at the same time, the human figure vanishes, as do the eternal wind blowing through the square and the sound of the bells inhabiting the alleys. The reader perceives the presence of the old woman, as well as the other “characters” in the poem, through the sound – “ti si sente faticare” (people can hear you gasping), “crepitare il tuo fuoco” (your fire crackling), “pregare” (praying), “soffiare” (blowing), “spezzare i ramoscelli” (breaking the twigs) – which amplifies her physical dissolution into and her melting with the space. Because she is an eternal presence in the village, the old woman represents an archetype of the peasant: even if she is close to her death, her face survives in the wind, in the sounds she produces, and in the repetitive actions she inherited from her ancestors and which other women will replicate in the future. These lines exemplify Pasolini’s intent throughout the collection to investigate reality in order to find the residue of the sacred and the archaic not only in human beings, but mainly in their interaction with the surrounding landscape.

Cinema of Poetry and Poetry of Cinema

A close analysis of Pasolini’s poems through the lens of his film theory indicates that his texts about poetic cinema stem from his early poetry. Even though, in his 1966 text “The Written Language of Reality”7, the director separates written/oral language from cinematic language, the equal attention given to human figures, objects, and actions as signifiers in his work is identical in both his poetry and cinema. In the aforementioned essay, the director affirms that while the oral/written language is “parallel to the reality that it expresses”8 and it never interacts with the concreteness of reality, the cinematic language:

is a line […] that fishes in the Significando, […] incorporating it in itself through its immanence in the mechanical audiovisual reproduction. […] It fishes its smallest units […]: the objects, the forms, the acts of reality which we have called ‘kinemes’. After having fished them, it keeps them in itself, encapsulating them in the units of first articulation, the monemes – that is, the shots.9

If we consider again the lines from “Usignolo” in light of Pasolini’s theory of cinematic language, the single elements presented in the poem compose embryonic kinemes. In fact, in the same essay, the director alludes to the fact that poetry is closer to cinema than narrative:

It seems to me that the first language of men is their actions. […] Even the moment of greatest detachment of language from such human action – that is, the purely expressive aspect of language, poetry – is in turn nothing more than another form of action: if in the instant in which the reader listens to it or reads it, in other words, perceives it, he frees it again from linguistic conventions and re-creates it as the dynamic of feelings, of affections, of passions, of ideas, he reduces it to an audiovisual entity.10

Paradoxically, poetry enacts a mechanism of signification similar to that of cinema because of its exoneration from the linguistic conventions of narrative language. Just as the director guides the viewers through the movements of the camera – framings, types of shots, zooms – the poet leads the reader through a succession of words liberated from the constraints of grammar, and generating “an audiovisual entity”. Pasolini’s substitution of the word “cinema” with “audiovisual technique” alludes to the demolition of any barrier between poetry and cinema.

A previous essay, “The Cinema of Poetry” from 196511, helps in better understanding the intersection of poetic and cinematic languages. According to Pasolini, because of the lack of a fixed dictionary for cinematic signs, the filmmaker must first choose the im-signs from the chaos of the world (linguistic invention) and, then, he can add to the im-sign his own “individual expressive quality” (aesthetic invention).12 In Pasolini’s words, “Those archetypes [humans, actions, and objects chosen as im-signs] thus lay a direct base of “subjectivity” for the im-signs, which consequently belong in the highest degree to the world of poetry. Thus the tendency of film language should be expressively subjective and lyrical.”13 Therefore, the archaic – that is, the residue of a world where nature, humanity, and its artefacts coexist harmoniously – constitutes the keystone of both his poetic and cinematic language, and it will remain one of the central pillars of his entire intellectual life. Pasolini’s main concern consists in saving the archaic world and its linguistic system, because, as he affirms in “The Written Language of Reality”:

We cannot escape the violence exercised on us by a society which, in assuming technique as its philosophy, tends to always become more rigidly pragmatic, to identify words with things and actions, to recognize ‘the languages of the infrastructures’ as ‘languages par excellence’, etc. In other words, we cannot ignore the phenomenon of a kind of downgrading of the word, tied to the deterioration of the humanistic languages of the elites, which have been until now, the guiding languages.14

In Pasolini’s attempt to preserve the archaic from the devouring force of the economic miracle, language represents a crucial concern for the author, as he opposes poetry (be it pure or cinematic) to the harsh and impoverished word of capitalization. Pasolini’s gaze on reality reveals that the world still contains archaic models and values surviving the homogenisation of modernity.

Part II: The Survival of the Archaic in (Mamma) Roma

Authoritative Architecture: Borgate as Enclosure

In Mamma Roma, Pasolini introduces a discourse on the archaic in the relationship between the main characters – Mamma Roma and her son Ettore – and the urban landscape with which they interact. In many of these scenes, the camera dissolves any sense of human predominance over buildings and nature; rather, it reinforces the idea that urban walls dominate the characters’ lives, they mould human destinies, and sometimes, as in Ettore’s case, they thrust them towards death. In a few words, modern housing projects destroy a possible archaic approach to existence. As Iain Chambers states: “architecture not only has metaphysics, it is metaphysics. For to plan, to rationalise space, embodies the promise of eschatology: the prophetic announcement of a future paradise, and the negation of alterity, of the other.”15 These words can summarise and comment on Mamma Roma, as Pasolini’s intent is to demonstrate how the new urban development of the Roman periphery deeply affects its inhabitants’ lives and world view: while apparently the borgate offer the illusion of advancing up the social ladder, in reality they confine the rejected and displaced population from the city centre – often immigrants from the South of Italy. Starting from Mussolini’s sventramenti in the early 1930s to remodel the urban texture of the heart of Rome into a more imperial city, thousands of families from the lower classes living in the city centre were moved to the outskirts of the capital, placed in new housing complexes. Pasolini’s comment on the politics of the borgate, still extant in 1960 when he writes in the weekly newspaper Vie Nuove, sheds light on the inhuman segregation hidden in the project: 

By negating the residence, the Roman “authorities” simply and boldly admits this: people cannot work in Rome. The situation is similar to the miserable villages in Southern Italy from which the majority of the non-residents arrive. Then? For sure, a concentration camp is always the best solution… Indeed, the borgate – planned by the Fascists and consecrated by the Christian Democratic party – are literally concentration camps.16

For Pasolini, and for many borgatari, the sense of partition from ‘normal’ urban life is evident: they are rejected, they are invisible to the bourgeoisie. The physical structure of the borgate, as the configuration of some housing complexes in Acilia testifies, confirms Pasolini’s words.

Dwelling versus Building

The situation Pasolini refers to does not differ much from Heidegger’s reflections on the problem of housing in the lecture “Building Dwelling Thinking”, delivered in 1951 at the Darmstadt Symposium. Briefly, Heidegger traces the common etymological origin of the words bin (I am) and bauen < buan (“to build” in modern German, but, originally, “to dwell”) in order to demonstrate how the process of building housing projects is strictly connected to a particular way of being on earth: “The way in which you are and I am, the manner in which we humans are on the earth, is Buan, dwelling.”17 In his analysis, Heidegger states that not all the buildings are dwellings, and he expresses doubt about the new housing projects erected all over Europe between the bombings of World War II and the economic upturn: “today’s houses may even be well planned, easy to keep, attractively cheap, open to air, light, and sun, but – do the houses in themselves hold any guarantee that dwelling occurs in them?”18 What concerns Heidegger – and Pasolini as well – is a respect for the relationship between humanity, earth, sky, and divinities. As the philosopher explains in the definition of dwelling: “to dwell, to be set at peace, means to remain at peace within the free, the preserve, the free sphere that safeguards each thing in its essence. The fundamental character of dwelling is this sparing.”19 Evidently, the economic boom after World War II promotes the exploitation of the land and the frantic movement of the population towards big cities; both these elements break the equilibrium between humanity and land existing in pre-capitalistic societies, as is exemplified by a farmhouse in the Black Forest (for Heidegger), a rural village in Friuli, or the Roman borgate (for Pasolini). Mamma Roma testifies, through Ettore’s death, how the INA-Casa20, and in general the new housing complexes in the Roman periphery, are not dwellings but simple buildings because they do not spare lives and break the sacred archaic harmony between humanity and nature.

Poetical Dwelling

Heidegger’s lecture “Poetically Man Dwells” (1951) proves useful in further connecting poetry, dwelling, and the archaic in Pasolini’s film. Briefly, the philosopher claims that the first two terms can not be separated from one another, as “poetry first causes dwelling to be dwelling. Poetry is really what lets us dwell. But through what do we attain to a dwelling place? Through building. Poetic creation, which lets us dwell, is a kind of building.”21 Here, in pushing the comparison between poetry and architecture, Heidegger arrives at a conclusion similar to that of the Italian director. Both search for an equilibrium between the earth and humanity in modernity, that is, a poetic view of the world which allows the individual to express oneself freely and affirm one’s personality, yet without disrupting the balance between the forces of the world (earth, humanity, sky, divine). In Heidegger’s words, “the responding in which man authentically listens to the appeal of language is that which speaks in the element of poetry. The more poetic a poet is – the freer […] his saying – the greater is the purity with which he submits what he says.”22 In the opening of the lecture, Heidegger clearly states that his concern is mainly with housing issues, therefore when he says language, he also means architecture as language. In fact, what he is claiming here is the lack of originality – that is, a poetical approach to building (be it in language or in architecture) – which has devoured any trace of purity and originality. What Heidegger, and, similarly, Pasolini, fears is the disappearance of a poetic point of view of the world, one which recognizes and respects the balance between the earth, the sky, humanity, and the divine, in a similar fashion to pre-capitalistic (therefore, archaic) societies. According to Heidegger: 

Man does not dwell in that he merely establishes his stay on the earth beneath the sky, by raising growing things and simultaneously raising buildings. Man is capable of such building only if he already builds in the sense of the poetic taking of measure. Authentic building occurs so far as there are poets, such poets as take the measure for architecture, the structure of dwelling.23

In these words, it is clear how the same anxiety animates both Heidegger and Pasolini: modern uniformity – be it linguistic or architectural – destroys the particularity and the poetry of dwelling in this world. In fact, the philosopher’s claim that “it might be that our unpoetic dwelling, its incapacity to take measure, derives from a curious excess of frantic measuring and calculating”24 is similar to the ideas conveyed by Pasolini in “The Written Language of Reality”, where he highlights that modern society modifies our language because of its accent on technique and pragmatism.25 For both authors, degraded language means an unpoetic approach to life and, as a consequence, failing housing complexes.

Unpoetical Buildings versus Ettore as a Christological Poetical Dweller

In Mamma Roma, the concept of “unpoetical dwelling” is visible in Pasolini’s treatment of the buildings. They are autonomous entities which interact with and often oppress the flesh and blood characters. The housing complexes are definitely responsible for the destiny of the borgatari, as they are the ultimate incarnation of a political and social project – that is, capitalistic uniformity.

Pasolini

Fig 1

Pasolini

Fig 2

In the film, the protagonists move from an apartment in Palazzo dei Cervi in Casal Bertone to the INA-Casa project in Tuscolano II. Pasolini builds the approach of Mamma Roma and Ettore to the edifices in the same way: a backward-dolly filming the two protagonists approaching their new apartment is juxtaposed with a forward-dolly shooting the buildings. Even though the director uses the same technique in the two scenes, the result is different: in the first case the edifice still maintains a sort of magnificence, while, in the second one, the INA-Casa seems an incomplete monster of concrete swallowing mother and son. The entrance of the Palazzo dei Cervi is triumphant: the camera approaches the working-class building showing all its bulk and then it traverses the arch that leads to the internal courtyard. [fig. 1-2] Rhodes affirms that “the total effect of the building is one of sham grandiosity – an empty exercise in urban set design.”26 I agree with Rhodes’ highlighting of the strong contrast between the material (a working-class building) and the way of portraying it (as a Renaissance ideal city view); and yet, this contamination between low and high material is meaningful. Pasolini affirms that working-class life there still maintains its dignity, and that the architecture of the palazzo (built in 1929) still respects the equilibrium between humanity and nature. The balanced proportions and the internal garden with the fountain are symptoms of poetical dwelling. However, Mamma Roma does not recognise this value in her old apartment and she struggles to get a new one in Palazzo Muratori in Cecafumo (1952-55).

Pasolini

Fig 3

The shot introducing the new apartment mimics the one in Casal Bertone. This time, however, the effect is different, as there is no triumph in the portrayal of the palazzo. [fig. 3] The architectural style is plain, anonymous in the same way as the life of the people living there, who are contaminated by capitalism (note the American music, dance, clothes, and the roller-skates of the young boys outside the building). The anonymity of the surface of the Palazzo Muratori symbolises the uniformity of the new capitalistic society which tends to oppress people’s particularity to transform them into consumers. Moreover, while filming the entrance of the two protagonists in the yard of the Palazzo Muratori, the camera does not face the internal garden. Instead, it directs the gaze towards the external landscape of the surrounding Cecafumo. [fig. 4]

Pasolini

Fig 4

The montage of this sequence is disjointed and does not follow the point of view of the characters; rather, the camera appears as a superior entity anticipating Ettore’s destiny: the central pillar of the arch leading to the Palazzo Muratori symbolises the cross of martyrdom of all the sub-proletariat deceived by the dream of becoming petty-bourgeois, an effect primarily achieved through the savage urban development visible behind the arch-cross. The association is reinforced through Pasolini’s montage of the inside of the church – where mother and son walk arm in arm in the aisle towards the cross close to the exit – with the area in front of the Palazzo Muratori. Pasolini traces a virtual path between the altar in the church framed in perspective27 and the street leading to the new apartment shot with the same camera angle, so as to announce that the new Christ, a new innocent victim, lives in the borgate. [fig. 5]

Pasolini

Fig 5

Earlier in the film, Pasolini shows Ettore’s residues of an archaic and poetic point of view on the world through his interaction with the ruins of the Roman aqueduct. Ettore plays with the ruins, he completes them, he builds a story within them, and, in this way, he gives life to these bricks, which show anthropomorphic features.28 [fig. 6-7]

Pasolini

Fig 6

Pasolini

Fig 7

The atmosphere is similar to Pasolini’s first poems, where nature, divinity, and humanity coexist in harmony, and where, as “Usignolo” testifies, any hierarchy between these elements is cancelled out. This scene can also be read through a passage from Chambers, when, optimistically, he glimpses a residue of the poetic in his sociocultural analysis of the modern city:

Cities, urban life, architecture, like our everyday social, gendered, ethnic, national, and local selves, however much they may be constructed by pedagogical and disciplinary decree, are ultimately dependent upon a performative manner or style of being, upon historical articulation and an ethics iterated in our becoming. The truth of being lies there, in our listening and responding to that language. In that space, however overdetermined by the seemingly irresistible onrush of capital and corporate control – what these days increasingly stands in for institutional policies and politics – there exists a cultural and poetic excess which is irreducible to the calculating rationalism and logic on those intents on our overseeing our futures. This supplement interrupts and interrogates the political desire for conclusion, universal comprehension and a rationalist domestication of the world. This desire is dispersed in the space between buildings, in the gap between measured edicts, in the silence that geometry fails to encode, in the shadows that cloud transparency. 29

With Heidegger in mind, Chambers points out how being on earth means responding personally to history, ethics, cities, and urban life present before one’s existence. Even if the society is becoming increasingly controlled and uniform because of capitalism, Chambers affirms that a residue of poetry still exists. With his playful interaction with the ruins, Ettore embodies the type of humanity which occupies the space between buildings – the Parco degli Acquedotti untouched by urban development. Ettore is able to make “the silence that geometry fails to encode” speak. His dialogue with the ruins pushes the viewers to interrogate these crumbling walls, to search for a meaning which is lost in the present and is left open to interpretation. Moreover, this scene leads to another one which summarises and questions the frantic urban development on the periphery of Rome: while speaking with Bruna, the landscape illogically and menacingly changes behind Ettore’s back at each reverse shot.30 [fig. 8-10] Through this operation, Pasolini again renders the buildings as autonomous entities symbolising capitalistic power, which threatens the lives of those people still belonging to an archaic world.

Pasolini

Fig 8

Pasolini

Fig 9

Pasolini

Fig 10

Another scene in the Parco degli Acquedotti clearly summarises Ettore’s martyrdom in the modern world. At the beginning of the sequence, a medium shot frames the boy leaning on a ruin after his friends left him to go to the hospital to steal money from some patients. After that, a long-shot shows Ettore against a huge fragment of an arch of the aqueduct while a tall building stands behind his back. [fig. 11] The image reconstructs a modern flagellation of Christ through Ettore’s bent arms, his body leaning on an architectural element, and the urban landscape behind his back exactly as in many Renaissance paintings, which Pasolini studied at the University of Bologna under the supervision of the art historian Roberto Longhi. Even though in the film Ettore-Christ is not surrounded by soldiers inflicting blows on him, the pose is similar to the conventional representation of the flagellated Christ. Moreover, Pasolini’s attention lingers on the urban landscape and the reproduction of a similar perspective to the Renaissance paintings. Pasolini’s Christ – a figure that only the poetic and archaic Ettore could embody – is still anchored to the ancient ruins, while the modern menacing buildings represent the invisible forces of capitalism flagellating the social body of the sub-proletariat. Pasolini reinforces the association between Christ and Ettore at the moment of Mamma Roma’s recognition that the sub-proletariat is doomed. Through the montage, which associates the image of Ettore with the shot of his mother – with her eyes cast up to the sky – asking to the “King of Kings” who is responsible for the lower classes’ misery and criminality. This combination definitively consecrates Ettore as Christ.

Pasolini

Fig 11

Death and Confinement as Solutions for the Body of the Subproletariat

The only ending possible for a character such as Ettore is death. His body, like that of the sub-proletariat, cannot be digested by capitalism. Since Fascism, the lower classes of Rome have been displaced from the centre to housing complexes lacking any comfort – often without running water, bathrooms or heating systems, and built with poor quality material – and left confined in these areas without occupation or assistance. The Roman sub-proletariat was completely abandoned by the government. This situation was still a relevant problem in the 1960s, as a reader of the weekly newspaper Vie Nuove writes to Pasolini’s column on October 1, 1960:

Dear Pasolini, it is only recently that I have discovered that the Roman citizens are “officially” divided into two categories: full citizens and semi-citizens. I am referring to those non-residents, those who can not obtain residence in the municipality of Rome because they do not have a full-time job and who can not have a full-time job because they do not have residence in Rome. The consequences of this situation are terrifying: this part of the population can not have any type of assistance; they can not even vote if they do not have money to go to the town where they “officially” reside in order to express their political preference. For the Roman municipal administration, those people do not exist. In the face of the inhabitants of the borgate and to their miserable life conditions, the municipal administration of Rome closes its eyes and does not lift a finger.31

Pasolini

Fig 12

In Mamma Roma, Pasolini replicates the social problems affecting the borgatari and he assigns them a sacral connotation through the construction of Ettore as a Christ; Rhodes briefly alludes to a parallel with Mantegna’s “Dead Christ”, but I believe that further observations are needed here. After the sequence of the flagellation, which prepares for the protagonist’s via crucis, an actual scene of crucifixion occurs, but in Mamma Roma the cross is a horizontal one, meaning that social advancement for this class is impossible. [fig. 12] Ettore’s limbs tied to the table in prison symbolise the immobilisation of the sub-proletariat’s body on the outskirts of Rome. Once again, Chambers’ analysis of the dynamics of the modern metropolis is helpful in explaining Pasolini’s construction of Ettore as a metaphor for the sub-proletariat and for Christ:

In its modern, occidental formation, architecture is cousin to anthropology, anatomy, and the art of the abject, or “body snatching”. Such Foucauldian associations, tied to the panoptic possibilities of disciplining, not to speak of “drawing and quartering” the body of the city, the body of the citizens, seeks to reduce all the potential movement and rupture to the classificatory frame and dissecting table of a still life, that is, death.32

Ettore’s body is immobilised, left to its own destiny even if sick, and his flesh is stained with excrement exactly as the borgatari are confined in peripheries without any sanitary assistance and living in housing complexes lacking bathrooms and any other comforts. This social body is humiliated, dissected and separated from the rest of society. However, the sub-proletariat embodied in Ettore and Mamma Roma still treasures a dream: resurrection from this condition through the purchase of an apartment. As we know, in Mamma Roma and throughout his later works, Pasolini dedicated substantial effort to illustrating how this dream was – as it remains today – nothing but an illusion.

 

Endnotes

  1. Martin Heidegger, “Building Dwelling Thinking”, in Poetry, Language, Thought (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), pp. 145-161; “Poetically Man Dwells”, in Poetry, Language, Thought, pp. 213-229.
  2. Pasolini wrote the poem in 1943; it is contained in the collection Usignolo della Chiesa Cattolica (Milan: Garzanti, 2004), pp. 45-52.
  3. John David Rhodes, Stupendous, Miserable City. Pasolini’s Rome (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007).
  4. Noa Steimatsky, Italian Locations. Reinhabiting the Past in Postwar Cinema (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996).
  5. Iain Chambers, Culture After Humanism. History, Culture, Subjectivity, (London: Routledge, 2001).
  6. Pasolini, “Usignolo”, p. 47 (own translation). The original is: “ALBA: La mia luce… VECCHIA: Alba fumosa! Bianca, per le scale, io scendo al suono dell’Ave. ALBA: Vecchio come il tuo viso il vento muore nella piazzetta. Nel gran silenzio ti si sente faticare; e crepitare il tuo fuoco. VECCHIA: Forse, da lontano, tra queste povere case non battono le campane? ALBA: Oh sì, ma tu per poco potrai ancora pregare all’ave lontana, e sfinirti a soffiare sulla caligine, e spezzare i ramoscelli contro il ginocchio tremante…”
  7. Pier Paolo Pasolini, “The Written Language of Reality”, in Heretical Empiricism (Washington DC: New Academia Publishing, 2005), pp. 197-222.
  8. Ibid., p. 206.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Ibid., p. 204.
  11. Pier Paolo Pasolini, “Cinema of Poetry”, Heretical Empiricism (Washington DC: New Academia Publishing, 2005), pp. 168-186.
  12. Ibid., pp. 169-170.
  13. Ibid., p. 173.
  14. Pasolini, “The Written Language of Reality”, p. 198.
  15. Chambers, p. 133.
  16. Pier Paolo Pasolini, “Dialoghi con i Lettori” (“Dialogues with the Readers”), Saggi sulla Politica e sulla Società (Essays on Politics and Society), ed. Walter Siti (Milan: Meridiani Mondadori, 1999), pp. 901-905. Here, pp. 903-904 (own translation). The original is: “Non concedendo la residenza, le ‘autorità’ romane ammettono semplicemente e impudentemente questo: a Roma non c’è modo di lavorare. Come del resto non c’è modo di lavorare nei miserandi paesi del Sud da cui la maggior parte dei non-residenti provengono. E allora? Certo, un campo di concentramento è sempre la soluzione migliore… E infatti le borgate, volute dai fascisti e consacrate dai democristiani, sono dei veri e propri campi di concentramento.”
  17. Heidegger, “Building, Dwelling, Thinking”, p. 147.
  18. Ibid., p. 146.
  19. Ibid., p. 149.
  20. The INA-Casa was a state project in collaboration with Istituto Nazionale Assicurazioni (National Institution for Insurance) which aimed to build housing complexes all over the national territory immediately after WWII to help the countless homeless families after the bombings of the Allies.
  21. Heidegger, “Poetically Man Dwells”, p. 215.
  22. Ibid., p. 216.
  23. Ibid., p. 227.
  24. Ibid., p. 228.
  25. Pasolini, “The Written Language of Reality”, p. 198.
  26. Rhodes, p. 112.
  27. I am indebted to Prof. Rhiannon Welch who originally pointed this out in our graduate seminar.
  28. I am indebted to Prof. Rhiannon Welch who originally pointed out the antropomorphic qualities of the ruins in our graduate seminar.
  29. Chambers, p. 151.
  30. I am indebted to Prof. Rhiannon Welch who originally pointed this out in our graduate seminar.
  31. Pasolini, “Dialoghi con i Lettori”, pp. 901-902 (own translation). The original is: “Caro Pasolini, solo in questi giorni ho scoperto che i cittadini romani sono “ufficialmente” divisi in due categorie: cittadini a pieno diritto e cittadini a mezzo servizio. Mi riferisco ai cosiddetti “non residenti”, a coloro cioè che non possono ottenere la residenza nel comune di Roma perché non hanno un lavoro stabile e che non possono avere un lavoro stabile perché non hanno la residenza. Le conseguenza di questo stato di cose sono spaventose: questa gente non può ottenere alcun aiuto, alcuna assistenza, non può nemmeno votare se non ha i mezzi per tornare ad esprimere il suo voto nel comune in cui “ufficialmente” risiede. Insomma, per l’amministrazione comunale di Roma questa gente non esiste affatto. Dinanzi agli abitanti delle borgate e alle loro miserabili condizioni di vita, l’amministrazione comunale capitolina chiude gli occhi e non muove un dito”.
  32. Chambers, p. 147.

About The Author

Eleonora Sartoni is a PhD candidate at Rutgers University, New Jersey. She received both her B.A. in Modern Languages and Literature and her M.A. in Modern Languages and Intercultural Studies at the University of Siena. In her dissertation, titled Spectacular Capital(ist) City:Wanderings through Rome from 1870 to the Present, she investigates the creation of Rome’s national identity through the study of monuments, architecture, and urban expansion.