Archive for the ‘Pier Paolo Pasolini’ Category

Camp and Metropolis in European CInema 1945-1965 Rendering the Visible II

Extemporize: Words of those cited in the paper often start to appear a few sentences before citation.
I need to acknowledge the work of 2 women not cited in what follows for reasons of time: the end of the paper would not have been possible without Tracy Thompson’s urbanist studies of the Atlanta metropolitan area; Maya Andrea Gonzalez’s engagement with materialist feminism is the reason Leopoldina Fortunati’s and Federici’s work is on the lips of so many revolutionary Marxists at the moment and though this paper doesn’t yet engage them directly Gonzalez’s own contriubtions are invaluable; though she is cited, I want to acknowledge that the rational kernel form which this project spun can be comes from Noa Steimatzky whose projects imply all of what I attempt to elaborate in what follows, from the revisions of Giorgio Agamben’s figuration on.

In the larger project, as time-images loose their salience, the figure of the camp empirically mutates into Cinema Hostis at a moment determined by a change in the base from which a new image erupts.

Suppressed @ conference: The series of films considered below plays a key role in my lager project about the periodization of cinema, the stakes of which are minor and specific to an academic field that is fortunately being defunded into a return to its former status as an inter-disciplinary praxis, but the theoretical frame might be a bit controversial. I argue that although his Cinema books don’t make it explicit, Gilles Deleuze derives his two image types, the time-image and the movement-image, on the basis of the relationship between labor and capital, perceived from the proletariat’s point of view at the times when each emerged. Cinema Hostis, the third image type, subordinates both movement and time to images of pure enmity in which each is the enemy of each and the camera is the enemy of all. The three images irrupt dialectically from the economic base rather than being born one from the other, a process masked by Deleuze’s genetic account, which nonetheless describes their empirical continuity. This paper concerns the figure of the concentration camp in the era of the time-image. Under that regime, the camps appeared as a contingent form that the cinema of concrete durations merely rendered perceptible and, eventually, utterable. At the turn of the twenty-first century, the subsumption of every sphere of human activity by circuits of capitalist valorization re-determined the camp, which, in a new form, became the essence of Cinema Hostis. Unlike over-determination, re-determination effects an empirical mutation expressing a dialectical sublation in and of its object, ridding transforming and unifying all of its previous determinations. In what follows, one should keep in mind that biopolitics names only techniques for managing social reproduction and does not imply the production of surplus value by “biopower.”My claims are derived from and consistent with the labor theory of value.

Camp and Metropolis in European Cinema 1945-1965
Roma, città aperta (Rossellini, 1945), Umberto D (De Sica, 1952), Accattone (Pasolini, 1961), and Alphaville (Godard, 1965), cardinal films in a larger cycle, depict a process by which later 20th century European proletarianization drove the “the radical transformation of politics into the realm of bare life” that is, into a concentration camp (Agamben 1995, 71.) Made between1945 and 1965, those films portray the cities they are set in as camps, revealing the structuration of life under capitalism by the contradictions of social reproduction: a sphere that has been colonized by a universal market that regulates us, turn us into kapos or abandon us. The films seem to elaborate the central observation of the third section of Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer, avant la lettre. Moreover, the films demystify Agamben’s conception of the camps as “biopolitical paradigm of the modern” insofar as they narrate the economic, determinations of contingent politics and the structuratation of “personal” lives in crisis. They depict their metropolises as camps only in so far as they are spaces of intolerable social reproduction intensified by changes in labor’s relation to capital or bouts of primitive accumulation. Camps figure as crystallizations of the totality of capitalist social relations, not, pace Agamben, as paradigms. In other words camps do not function as productive positivities, or models with the capacity to replicate themselves and generate power effects. They express the essence of asocial relations determined by a specific economic system at an ongoing moment in its development. Capitalism entails a contradiction between the transformation of people into things and things into people, a definitional contradiction that determines all of its social relations. Workers must use their wage to reproduce their lives each day and to regenerate the class, but bosses extract the power of their living labor in excess of what the wage pays for. At a certain threshold of intensification, that vampirism drains the lives of capital’s subjects to the point of absolute vital immiseration and completes the systemic transformation of the social into the asocial. The former capitalist semi-periphery crossed that threshold in 1945 with the core following in 1973. Since then the rest of the world has as also become asocial. This is the true meaning of globalization. Uneven development implies that the camp form was imposed on much the global South directly after a period of colonial primitive accumulation. Cinema exposes what Agamben and others call “biopolitics” as the style management of reproduction at a given moment of the moving contradiction.
The massive and uneven destruction of capital in World War II led to primitive accumulation in the semi-periphery, moments of restructuring when the bourgeoisie takes what it needs for capitalism to function by force — for example, the enclosure of commons lands between 1760 and 1820 studied extensively by E. P. Thompson in The Making of the English Working Class and the concurrent enclosure of women within the nuclear family allowing capital to seize their reproductive labor without a wage, a phenomenon studied by Silvia Federici in Caliban And The Witch. After the war, the modernization of Italian agriculture drove peasants from the South into vast, ghettoized labor pools in the borgate, or peripheral slums of northern cities and proletarianization spewed out immigrants who became Australians or, like Antonio Berrutti, minor characters in the Paris of film such as Breathless (Godard, 1960.) Modernizing agriculture meant that fewer laborers were required to produce the same amount of produce and livestock. The resulting migration to industrial areas transformed Italian peasantry into a proletariat with the massive unemployed layers necessary for capital to keep the price of labor down and to provide a standing reserve of labor power against fluctuations in the process of valorization. Between 1945 and 1960, more than a third of the Italian population moved from one district to another. (Dowson 1973). For proletarians, The only thing worse than being exploited by capital is being forced to exist outside of surplus value extraction but within capitalism. Primitive accumulation and proleatarianization subtend the capture by capital’s circuits of housework, which is mostly performed outside the space of formal market exchanges (Caffentzis 2013, 253.) The contradiction between capital’s need for a standing reserve of possible laborers and it’s demand that everyone work to survive figures out capital’s structural ban: a proletariat abandoned by capital to reproduce itself without access to the means to do so.
Capital forces the proletariat to work and be available for work by depriving labor of the means of sustenance so that the problem of continuing “the simple fact of living common to all living beings (animals men or gods)” (Agamben 1998, 1) becomes too intense for members of the class to swerve together into forms of life. Under capitalism, the proletariat reproduces itself as bare life and that is what camps crystalize about capitalism as Michael Denning shows in an essay entitled “Wageless Life.” The metropolises in the films appear as camps because they contain bare life embodied in surplus populations and unwaged domestic workers and in the unwaged portion of labor power reflected in the life of the worker — the economic lack that women’s work compensates for.
Before the modernization of Southern European agriculture began driving primitive accumulation, proletarianization, and the abandonment of life, the national film studio founded under Benito Mussolini, Cinecittà, had been turned into a refuge camp. When the US warehoused refuges in the studio that the Neorealists could have been using, the filmmakers were pushed into the streets. There, Rossellini and the others filmed bare life on locations around the metropolis, as if to prove that one could leave Cinecittà but not the camp. The camp functioned as an anonymized space of pure, minimal reproduction of its population in an isolated “placeless place, set apart from the life outside” (Steimatsky 2009, 24.) Beyond its gates, the contradictions of social reproduction were of another intensity, not a different order. Those conditions generalized the sense of placeless urban space in neorealism. The films moved further and further from Rome’s touristic locations in the1940s and early 1950s, until after the movement had ended, as John David Rhodes has shown, Pier Palo Pasolini abandoned well known Roman places and stable spatial construction almost entirely for the degraded any-space-whatevers of shanty towns and CASA tenements in the borgate. The neorealists “newfound interest in the chronicling of the everyday” (Steimatsky 2009, 25) was an attempt to present the contradictions of social reproduction by following the themes of “housing, sustenance, …the circumstances of children” (Steimatsky 2009, 25-6) and the position of women within and between various markets. As Noa Steimatsky points out, the neorealist images of camps were necessarily out of focus, muted flickers on the walls of metropolises. The surface of the films had “to smooth out the tensions of the moment, to establish a restorative narrative of affinities among classes and ideologies and across the ruined landscape: a redemptive vision exportable beyond Italy via the international dissemination of Neorealism” (Steimatsky 2009, 28.), Steimatsky demonstrates that the turn to the abandoned life on the streets meant a turn away form the refuges in the studio. Roma, città aperta, Ladri di biciclette (De Sica, 1948), Germania anno zero (Rossellini, 1948) Miracolo a Milano (De Sica, 1951) and Umberto D reveal the figures of Camps in Rome, Milan, and Berlin while encrypting the particular reality of the camp in Cinecittà.
Agamben defines “bare life” according to the legal status of living beings abandoned by law and sovereignty, cut off from citizenship and political processes. Once Mussolini formed the Republica Social Italiana, Rome became the declared capital of the Fascist Republic and of Pietro Balglio’s government at the same time. The German Army held practical sovereignty over the Metropolis. Agamben’s idealist juridico-poltical analysis of bare life describes the legal condition of all Italians between 1943 and 1946; a condition encrypted in Homo Sacer. Agamben figures bare life according to the indiscernibility of Italian sovereignty and the opaque impossibility of citizenship until declaration of the Italian republic.
The phrase “open city” was used in the Italian surrender to Germany signed at Frascati in September of 1943 to designate the status of Rome, which was to remain under the control of an Italian General with the Germans occupying only their own embassy, radio station and telephone exchange. By the end of the month, the German Army had fully occupied the metropolis. Subjected Romans lived under tightly controlled and limited conditions.
At the end of the war, the colonizing US army hosted a population reduced to the bare minimums required for its reproduction on sound stages while Rossellini, De Sica and the others recorded reproduction in the streets as if capturing the shadow of the refuges they could not film – a shadow pointing to the Camp encrypted in every post war capitalist city.
Roma citta aperta depicts the Roman Metropolis as a Camp: an area populated with denizens rather than citizens, abandoned by the law to existence in a separated space where in all aspects of life are regulated by immediate violence. At the end of Roma citta aperta, the boys who witnessed the priest’s execution parade away in pairs from the torture pitch, St Peter’s Basilica visible in the background, a parody of a column of soldiers advancing. Critics conventionally call the ending hopeful, as if the sight of youth and touristic Rome signaled the coming of peace, however, the last shot functions as ambiguously as the invocation of spring at the end of Paisà (Rossellini, 1946) which comes too late for peace to mean anything. The camera following the boys’ advance extends structuration of the camp out from Fortte Bravetta where the priest has been killed, so that even the Vatican is included. The camera constitutes Rome as a placeless place and emphasizes its separation from any outside with a final movement from right to left that matches the movement with which the camera follows occupying German troops in the film’s first shot. The 360 pan composed of the film’s opening and closing shots seal off Roma, city apart, as if it were a circle of hell.
From it’s first scene, Roma città aperta’s conjugation of women with markets plays a decisive roll in the structuration of Rossellini’s metropolis. Women embody the central role in capitalist social reproduction, connecting it generational and quotidian aspects. As Fortunati has shown, under capitalism, the role of unwaged women in the valorization of male labor is analogous to that of the living labor necessary to valorize constant capital. An indirect exchange mediated by the male laborers takes place between capital and women, who work either as house-workers or as prostitutes. (Fortunati 1995, 33). Capitalism naturalizes women’s work in reproducing male labor power and in order to valorize the male worker, and must posit women and their reproductive labor as without value in order to extract surplus value from the male.
Roma, città apert begins with a direct action by young girls and women: a bread riot consisting of many little girls and some women. A later episode in the film contrasts this female action with a paramilitary attack on a train yard by little boys. The boys assault the supply lines of an occupying armies, whereas the young girls’ bread riot attacks the existence of markets. Women cannot hold the money Capital pays mediating male workers for their housework since, from the point of view of capital, the laborer’s wage is equivalent to the cost of his reproduction. Women can and must use that money to provide the family, and so, for women markets are sites of contradiction and targets for political action. Part of women’s domestic labor is shopping for food. Characteristically, the women are both means of reproduction and compelled to commodities necessary to reproduction. The laxity with which the two police officers in the scene respond to the riot suggests the camps’ suspension of conventional morals: the prohibition against stealing has fallen away in the face of scarcity.
The contrast between opening episode of the bread riot and the later attack on the munitions train establishes a gender division between young girls who attack spontaneously in order to reproduce themselves and their families, and boys who plan their attack and execute it as part of the effort to liberate the city. The male struggle is clearly political. The struggle of the young girls appears either pre-political or, reading the film against Rosellini, a critique of the usual construal of politics.
The sequence initiates a line of female bare-life in the series of films over the course of which women are differentiated according to the degrre to which they are commodified. Roma Città aperta contrasts Pina, about be married and become a source of reproductive labor for her fiancé, with Marina who works as a cabaret dancer and exchanges herself for goods. The film portrays Pina and Marina as mother and whore, espressing capital’s misogyny while at the same time rendering the two positions capital offers women in reproductive work, paid prostitution or unpaid housework. Understanding the figure of the camp as a crystallization of the contradictions of reproduction allows us to see the structure at work under the surface of Rossellini’s misogyny and homophobia in the same way that Laura Mulvey and others read Freud as both an elaboration of patriarchy and a critique thereof.
In Umberto D, hoses lead the camera to abandoned life in both the pound and in the kitchen. In the kitchen, Maria, the maid, uses the hose from the spigot to drown some ants on the wall in a close up. She looks down at her wet apron and sees her pregnant belly, asking Umberto whether sees a bump. In the pound a worker hoses down incinerators used to dispose of stray dogs, the rubber pipe connecting the shot’s foreground and background. Capital excludes from it’s limited protections both the stray dogs condemned to death, and Maria, soon to be unemployable and destitute because she is pregnant and unsure who the father is. Maria and the dogs are both still alive but abandoned by capital and, hence, both subject, respectively, to active and passive liquidation. Maria finds herself excluded from paid social reproduction at the very moment when she finds herself reproducing labor. The stray dogs interfere with the efficient reproduction of the city. In Umberto D, the kitchen figures a moment of contradiction within capitalist social reproduction and the pound figures a death camp. Umberto’s journey between the apartment and the pound connects and equivocates between the two spaces so that one can see that the same system of social relations hold sway in the kitchen and the camp.
Umberto D figures the camp directly in it’s mise-en-scene with the shot of the incinerators and a decade later Accattone mentions a camp explicitly in it’s dialogue. In an attempt to stop pimping inspired by his love for Stella, exhausted Accattone gets a job through his brother, collecting scrap metal. Like Stella’s work cleaning glass bottles for reuse, Acattone’s labor produces a minimum of surplus value and is also empty in the sense that it does not produce much, if any, use value. The low yield of use value for prisoners characterizes labor in historical camps — not only are prisoners deprived of the means of full reproduction, they are made to labor on projects from which they so alienated that they cannot see their work as useful for anyone. In the the scrapyard, Accattone asks “Where are we? Buchenwald?”
Accattone’s question forces a slight revision of Angelo Restivo’s reading of Accattone’s impediment filled metropolitan space as a jail in The Cinema of Economic Miracles — Restivo is correct, but post-war prisons are variations on the camp form. Accattone’s question names Rome as a camp at the moment when he attempts to stop mediating between capital and Stella’s wrok as a prostitute. To do so, he leaves the sphere of social reproduction for that of service and circulation, only to find his position in as a camp inmate brutally clarified. In camps, men are kapos to women, and when men attempt to change that relation, their own bare life intolerably confronts them.
Alphaville combines language and cineplastics in its most explicit sign that its metropolis is a camp: the numerical tattoos on the affectless seductresses who have been really and fully subsumed by the state capitalism. The film suggests that the tattoos are a mark of the doubly bare status of women’s lives under capitalist reproduction, of the double encampment of women within capital and within a family or a brothel.
α 60, the computer that runs the city, orders the word “love” eliminated from the dictionary in order to to control the citizens of the Metropolis by ellinating any referecnes to irrational forces. Alphaville’s plastics reframe 1965 Paris so that it appears as the future, seeking not only to describe the structure of it’s present but to be effective within it. Lemmy caution restores the word “love” to Natasha’s vocabulary in order to liberate her from Alphaville, a liberation conditioned by her passivity and lemmies structural position as a kapo. Although the narrative effects of α 60’s censorship is to regulate the dinizens by renering them vacous and predicable, banning the word allows the film to opperate the unnarrated world of it’s moment and ours by suppressing the ideological language that normally disguises the position of women as structural sex-workers.
The sensuous identity of camp and metropolis in these films could only emerge as an image of the contradictions of social reproduction after World War by figuring three factors:
1) The intensification of carceral practices during the war.
2) The particularities of the spaces within which reserve labor pools collected as a result of primitive accumulation after the war when fascist countries had to be converted to fully privatized capitalism.
3) The acceleration the real subsumption of labor after the war that intensified the exploitation in and around the capitalist core and drove the deskilling and decomposition of the working class while increasing the extent to which its reproduction depends on a universal market
Since its first projections, Cinema’s specificity has been a praxis aimed at making social reproduction perceivable. Where do the workers go when they leave the frame in La sortie des usines Lumiere à Lyon and all of its remakes? One hopes they leave the factory, to attend to social reproduction and not to loabor at another site of production. Cinema’s compulsively restaged primal scene brings an aesthetic promise of happiness, or at least respite, in the same frame that inaugurates the powers that will undermine that promise in favor of action. The 1895 film introduces cinema’s specific capacity to think reproduction, the capacity of its chronotopes to refer percepts to ideologically obscured social forces: the forces involved in conversation, in parenting, in the division of domestic labor, in sex, in sex in being separated by markets and together on the streets. Over the course of its history, cinema’s ethnographic power empties out La sortie’s promise of happiness and leads audiences to ask what we must do in order to be able to imagine that the workers aren’t headed to a camp. Wherever we are, we imagine today’s proletariat living somewhere other than a camp only with great difficulty and our tasks are immense. Here in Atlanta our tasks are immense because of the refusal to consolidate unevenly distributed services in the 68 municipalities and its deleterious effects on transportation during the recent snows, effects bourn disproportionately by the black proletariat; because of the region’s preference for largely upper middle class white suburban sprawl over the development of light rail, because of ever widening wage inequality distributed along racial lines, and here as everywhere, because of capitalism.

Works Cited
Agamben, Giorgio. Homo Sacer; Sovereign Power and Bare Life . Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998.
Caffentzis, George. In Letters Of Blood and Fire: Work, Machines and the Crisis of Capitalism. Oakland : PM Press, 2013.
Dowson, Ernest. “The Italian Background.” Radical America 7, no. 2 (March-April 1973): 7-17.
Forgacs, David. Rome Open City (Roma Città Aperta). London: British Film Institute , 2000.
Fortunati, Leopoldina. The Arcana of Reprodution: Housework, Protitution Labor and Capital. Brooklyn: Autonomedia , 1995.
Ricciardi, Allisia. “Immanent Miracles: From De Sica to Hardt and Negri.” Modern Language Notes 122, no. 5 (December 2007): 1138-1165 .
Steimatsky, Noa. “The Cinecittà Refugee Camp (1944–1950).” October 128 (Spring 2009): 23-50.


Annotated Bibliography of Working Class Struggles In Italy. Radical America. V 7. N2. March-April 1973.

Working Class Struggle In Italy PDF

Autonomous Assembly of Alpha Romeo “Against the State As Boss.” Burno Ramirez and Judy Ramirez, Trans. Radical America. V 7. N2. March-April 1973. Day to day account of 11/1971-2/1973 struggle at the Portello and Arese Alfa plants. Portello plant workers older, still maintain strong trade union ties, plant shrinking. Arese newer, was still being built at time of writing; 65% of workers on assembly line are immigrants from the south; greater level of militancy than at Portello plant. Autonomous Assembly took the role of a vanguard. Seeks to become “permanent political reference point for the workers. AA’s militancy in part a response to Italian gov’s job classification that is a response to real subsumption of labor AA: “you are ‘selected’ not on the basis of what you know or are able to do, but on the basis of your willingness to lick ass”(47-49.) 11/15 strike, Portello: management cancels and then shorts pay checks, unions conciliatory, invoke “democratic decisions” 11/16 marchers find everyone at work in computer center, force them out ans start discussing with them (53.) 12/9-1/9/1973 absenteeism (56.-76) 1/10: intensification of coreti interni ; confrontation with police; Arrest and suspension of Frank Atzeni; planning occupation at Arese; occupation; conflict with CP, which negotiates a new contract.

Dowson, Ernest. “The Italian Background.” Radical America. V 7. N2. March-April 1973. “After the Second World War, the Italian ruling class, aided by the Marshal Plan, began the reconstruction of a capitalist economy. The communists cooperated with them.” (7.) Revolutionary hopes of workers “traded for a seat in the Government” (7.) Anti-Fascist groups give up arms, don’t combat US presence (7.) Communists ousted from government, bourgeoisie starts program to suppress working class organizations. Trade unions, e.g., FIM, militant metal workers union at Fiat, broken up (7-8.) Government backing and investment to streamline and modernize export industries (8.) Paid for by workers in the form of “low wages and lousy living conditions (8.) Automation of industry means job growth slow and high unemployment (8.) Industrial growth concentrated in North. South agricultural “long history of client system based on large land owners and patronage, government takes role of landowners after 1945 through distribution of public money (8.) Agriculture rationalized: large mechanized units Populations driven to cities. Between 1950 and 1967 17,000,000 Italians, more than a third of the population moved from one district to another (8.) a small amount of construction work comes south, but not enough to prevent mass migration to the north “The constant reserve of labor was exactly what the Italian bosses needed. It helped to keep wages down, even when the demand for workers began to grow” (8.) 1962 Fiat strike in Turnin. Demand for workers caused by 1959 boom makes wages rise while unemployment falls. Profits fall; investment slows, money goes abroad or into land speculation; instead of pushing productivity up with machinery, they begin to squeeze [deskilled] workers harder. Speeds on production lines pushed up until they become the highest in Europe (9.)
Unemployment starts to grow again, food, housing, and transport in inflationary spiral (9.) 1951-1961 4 largest urban areas (Milan, Rome, Turin, Naples)increase in population by 2,000,000: 2/3 of national population increase. GESCAL, Gestione case per i lavoratori, builds only 390,000 apartments between 1949 and 1971 — the same number that were built privately in one year (9.) In 1971, GESCAL built 3,254 apartments and had a waiting list of 138,931 families. (9.) Workers contributed 0.6% of wages to GESCAL, bosses 1.2%. Rents consumed up to 40% of worker wages (9.) 1968: strikes and absenteeism on the rise, riots in the south.
Competition for markets between Italian firms and rivals, especially the US (Fiat v Ford, e.g.;) Antagonism between different sectors of Italian capital (small (us invested/owned;)) v large firms (supported by state;) small industries liquidated or absorbed (10.) 1969: Triennial contracts in metalworking expire Trade Unions, firms and CP ready to deal (10.) CP dreams of entering government again.
“Base committees” among workers worry CP and union officials (11.) But to ensure bargaining position unions had to mobilize workers, who wanted more than unions (11.) The Hot Autumn: When workers were called out on a 1 day strike by union to protest the killing of a southern worker during rioting at Battipaglia, “they refused to leave the factory, and started to take it over instead” (11.) Turn from striking with unions to struggle in factories. Split between older skilled workers of CP new generation of workers who’s individual skills didn’t matter and who “didn’t give a damn about the dignity of labor” (class compostion argument (12.) Between 1969 and 1970 wages went up 23.4%, 10 previous years 9%. Concessions attempt to calm things (12.) Bosses also use repression (12.)1969-1973: rent strikes; building occupations/squats ; Protests against food prices/ red market at Pisa; Transportation actions take over of public transportation in the suburbs of Venice; Fare strike in Trento; Primary and secondary school strikes and occupations; Health care center in Rome; Prison actions by prisoners in Milan and Naples. Red Help to support prisoners from the outside 13-14.)

Kaplan, Jim. “Introduction to the Revolutionary Left In Italy.” Radical America. V 7. N2. March-April 1973.
The revolutionary left in Italy “to the left of the Communist Parties” (1) CGIL, communist-socialist labor confederation exhibits new power in triennial contract negotiations of1963 (2) The PCI enters the Italian cabinet arguing that only they can “fulfill Italy’s potential for economic growth” (2) Proposed wage increase work of “oligopoly capitalist who could pass them on to consumers” but don’t work for smaller companies (2.) Leads to economic concentration “necessary for international goals” FIAT, Pirelli, Montedison (chemicals,) ENI (petroleum) Italsider (steel) (2.) Elimination of the petit bourgeoisie (2.) Promoting big capital in this way would also benefit the working class (2.) The working class sees the PCI linking their interests to those of capitalist accumulation, moving toward reform and not revolution (3.) Maoists blamed this co-optation (“instrumentalization”) on “revisionist mis-leadership;” Quaderini Rossi argued it was caused by historical changes in the working class (3.) CPI built by skilled workers in older industrial centers of Italy in the 40s. The political objective of those workers was domination of the work process in “what was still largely craft production” (3.) Investment during “economic miracle” brings the assembly line production in the 1950s and 50s. The mas vanguards of the 60s and 70s came from factory workers, not the skilled workers of the PCI and CGIL (3.) By 1969: Potere Operaio wants guaranteed wages for all “political wages” Lotta Continua spreads continuous militancy for “precise objectives in every aspect of everyday life” (4.)

Lotta Continua. “Take Over The City.” Ernest Dawson Trans. Radical America. V 7. N2. March-April 1973.
On Rent Strikes and Occupations in Milan. Starts with urbanist analysis of class and rent in Milan (81-83.) 5-1-1970 Rent Strike focused on Quarto Oggiaro (municipal housing area) eviction resistance, tenants union (84-90.) 1-22-1971 mass occupations/ squats (90-99.) Rome: People’s Clinic June 1971 (99-104.)
Consideration of Occupation instead of voting (104-105.)Housing actions in Southern Italy (105- “Cassa del Mezzogiorno” set up to stop mugration by subsidizing agriculture and create infrastructure (housing, roads, schools, hospitals) (106.) Building of state owned, ultra modern low employment factories in Naples (Alfa,) Italsider steel in Taranto and Naples, chemical plants in Bari and Poroto Torres (Sardinia.) Taranto (107-108;) Palermo (108-110;) Naples (110-112.)

Potere Operaio. “Italy 1973: Workers Struggles in the Capitalist Crisis.” Mario Montano and Silvia Federici, Trans. Radical America. V 7. N2. March-April 1973.
The working class struggle as producing a crisis (15.) “Generalized refusal of the capitalist organization of work” (15.) Keynesian policies as containment (16.) “The economic crisis was imposed on capitalists by working-class struggle. Throughout the 1968-1970 cycle of struggles workers not only has stepped up their mass struggle against work at the point of production through increased strikes, self-reduction of work time, “absenteeism,” and sabotage (all activities that do not reproduce capital,) but also had expressed their determination to struggle against the capitalist state” (17.) “Marx and particularly since the scientific organization of labor…”Real subsumption as “class composition” (19.) Capital starts to deal directly with the “material existence as labor force, as a mere commodity” (19.) Capital uses technology to produce gaps in homogeneous texture of a working class politically dominated by the behavior of the mass worker.” (19.) Reduction of work force (tchno unemployment;)demobilization of sectors and regions; decentralization of productive sectors to eliminate large working class concentrations; wider range of skills for some and widened pay differentials (19.) The chemical industry (20.) Auto industry cite of struggle sites 1933-1937 struggles in us (20.) Fiat rules out new production methods which would involve capital outlay and a 25% cost increase (20.) Investment in south Porto Torres and Gela as “cathedrals in the desert” attempt to divide the working class along geographic lines (20.) 198 constitution founded on priciipla of “class cooperation in the name of economic development” (21.) Tracks roles of governments in contract negotiations 1970-1973 (21-31.)“The worker’s struggle has been “beyond the contract” all along (31.) “In our occupation, the factory is a starting point for the revolutionary struggle, not a place to work” (31.)

Sofri, Adriano. “Organizing For Worker’s Power.” John Huot, Trans. Radical America. V 7. N2. March-April 1973.
Written for Pisa Il Potere Operaio Published in French by Les Temps Modernes 10/69
The problem of the party traditionally posed as that of the growth of subjectively revolutionary groups (33-34.) PO Opt instead for “ongoing involvement in reality of class struggle”(34.) Workers struggles no longer simply economic and “inherently trade unionist” (35-36.) Revolution in advanced capitalist countries comes from “ripening of the political confrontation between capital and the proletariat. This implies changing from the perspective of insurrection to the perspective of protracted (eventually armed struggle)” (37.) Workers’ Power not an external vanguard because they don’t see themselves a the embryo of the party, but “as a group of militants whose objective is to accelerate the conditions necessary for the development of the mass revolutionary organization” (38.) Revolutionaries “at the service of autonomous masses” (42.) Tasks: Create opportunities an means for links of communication among workers; discover means for self-analysis of worker struggle; support unity in the struggle; maximize worker autonomy in choise of organizational forms (43.) Critique of centralization; critique of functionality (44.)

Viale, Guido. “Interview With Guido Viale.” Bruno Ramirez, Trans. Radical America. V 7. N2. March-April 1973.
Viale one of the founders of Lutta Continua.I “Arrested with with nine other comrades and charged with attempted murder in connect with clashes the night before in the streets of Turin between revolutionaries and neo-fascists” (113.)
“’struggle against labor’ — meaning radical negation of the capitalist organization of work and life” (114.) Proletarianization of south (115.) Role of the CPI (116-117.) 1973 round of labor negotiations (117-119.)

Annotated Bibliography of Anglophone Articles in Special Issue of Italian Quarterly on Pier Paolo Pasolini

De Lauretis, Teresa. “Language, Representation, Practice: Rereading Pasolini’s Essays On Cinema.” Italian Quarterly XXI N 82 – XXII N. 83. Fall 1980-Winter 1981.

Pasolini’s film writings  as relevant to the 1980s need for “an understanding of the interrelations or mediations between the systems of determinations embedded in cinema as a social technology (systems of pre-construction of meaning, codes, technical availability and access,) its institutional orders of coherence (various discourses on the cinema,) and practices — social practices as well as practices of cinema” (160.) Pasolini’s insistence on the audiovisual character of cinema; his interest in the engagement of subjectivity in meaning and ideology (160.) Goes over Metz “Cinema: Language or Language System” (1964;) “language without a code” v the double articulation of shot and cinema in PPP’s “Language Of Reality” essay; Eco’s objection that objects in the frame aren’t like phonemes and his “semes, iconic signs and figurae;” PPP’s “ritmea” theory of editing and the shift from linguistic to discursive analysis of cinema (161.) A consideration of PPP’s cinema as the written language of action (and action as the primary human language) From “Language of Reality” (162.) Poetry as “translinguistic” that is always discarding its conventions (163.)  Names Pasolini’s interest in inner-speech and cinema as film theory’s most difficult problem in light of the psychoanalytic Metz. Mentions Salò as example of need to reclaim the iconic for the ideological and the impossibility of simply seeing.  Nice Durasian last line “Ideologize, he said” (165.)

Lawton, Ben. “The Evolving Rejection Of Homosexuality, Sub-proletariat, and the Third World in Pasolini’s Films.” Italian Quarterly XXI N 82 – XXII N. 83. Fall 1980-Winter 1981.

On The “Abiura.” Pasolini sides with sub-proletariat against bourgeoisie, but is angered and offended when it “does become free of traditional submission” for and against sexual liberation. Contradictions reflect inner conflcits (167.) The sub-proletariate as an early version of PPP’s utopia. Lawton at least understands that Teorema undermines the bourgeois family; shift in Davoli’s roles from undermining the family to exemplifying it.(168.) Salò  as a critique of homosexuality. Rather confused.

MacAfee, Norman. “ ‘I Am A Free Man:’ Pasolini’s Poetry In America.” Italian Quarterly XXI N 82 – XXII N. 83. Fall 1980-Winter 1981.

PPP’s Italian poems “ civil poems” not hermeticism (99.) Comp to Witman, Pound and Ginsberg. PPP sets example for US poetry in 1980 at a moment of its growth by asserting a central place in society. Interview with Pound from 1968. A version in Ezra Pound In Italy. The end of Salò as ambivalent homage to pound who’s words are said to be the thesis to the image’s antithesis. Salò as “the ultimate post-hermetic poem” (hermeticism as a way of negotiating fascism censorship) PPP told his publisher that if it were shown there would be no more censorship (though this needs to be understood in terms of his critique of permissiveness.) M doesn’t know of post Salò case, but he’s writing in 1980 (100.) M considers P’s homosexuality as something that sets PPP apart “from most ways of thinking that collide with power” (an outsider to the opposition) Reads from “A Desperate Vitality”

Mandelbaum, Allen. “ ‘Ah Mystica/ filogia:’ Rereading Pasolini.” Italian Quarterly XXI N 82 – XXII N. 83. Fall 1980-Winter 1981.

Pasolini’s declaration of his own bankruptcy “Io? Io sono inaridito e superato” (95) Catholicism said to put “tremendous pressure on the word all” (96) Reads capitalization to suggest that PPP’s poetry populated with personifications “richest in the clash of amore  and ragione.” 96) “Bureaucracy and organization had long since bloated and devalued them” said in PPP’s voice in response to a re-reader who finds they “lack the force of driven apparitions (96) Sees Pasolini’s inventio as blocked (96)  PPP’s fable says :”there was a chance for poltical inventio  that was not realized” (96) Pasolini as a man of the enlightenment “a rejecter of magic payri (97.) Poetic invention is premature, it is not because history is over, but because it has not yet begun” (97.) Pasolini asks, “when will the periphery become the center? And can the poet ever abandon his role as protagonist of the periphery without falling into banality?” (97) PPP’s gods those of “the unhoused and the ineluctable place (98.) “In a world of English and Russian, Rome becomes linguistic romance. It does not preside over its sub-proletariat, Friulian, Provebçal, the swarm of emarginated tongues — it joins them. But it joins them as a yet — and necessarily — imperfect instrument” (98) no “hypersigns” for PPP no ares grammatical. Comparison to Lukàcs’ awareness of predecessors and successors.

Marcus, Millicent. “ The Decameron:  Pasolini As Reader of Boccaacio.” Italian Quarterly XXI N 82 – XXII N. 83. Fall 1980-Winter 1981.

Pasolini’s film as platonic “imitation” of the Boccaccio (177.) Pasolini not only reacting to text, but to its Italian reception over 6 centuries [similar to PPP’s understanding of his use of early renaissance paintings as Christology in Il vangelo] (177-8.) Pasolini’s dispensing of frame story and blurring of the frames between tales as denial of formal satisfaction (178.) Pasolini as critic of Boccaccio’s scholasticism, which was obsolete in his own time and emphasizes distance of mideval text (178.) Pasolini plays Boccaccio and elaborates thereby a metafilm (179.)

Odlcorn, Anthony. “Pasolini and The City: Rome 1950 A DiaryItalian Quarterly XXI N 82 – XXII N. 83. Fall 1980-Winter 1981.

On Pasolini’s Roman Poems. Starts with Pasolini’s flight from Friuli after charges of “corruption of minors and obscene acts in a public place” (107;) expulsion from Communist Party; family background. Circumstances of arrival in Rome (108;) Gets to Roma 1950, diario on 109. Verse journal published in a 1960 limited edition. “Chronicles the poet’s state of mind in moments of rest from servile work” (109;) 11 syllable lines (11-28 of them) written in Standard Italian. PPP avoids “all undue emphasis and sublimity of diction;” uses a “bleached voice;” uses “deliberate understatement to the limits of banality” (109.) O cites Eldridge clever (to describe the poetic tradition of Roma 1950 “not part of the solution but part of the problem” (110.)  sense of physical confinement in poems “corresponds to the poet’s moral entrapment in a system and a discourse not of his own making” (110.) No “transvaulation of values” only extension of “those categories to accommodate moral phenomena they were never meant to embrace” (110.)n Failure to recognize that “by bourgeois standards, homosexuality was a qualitative, and not simply a quantitative transgression” (110.) Calls the poems a “Petrachan reaction” to PPP’s situation (110.) PPP casts himself as crucified Christ, but not as subversively as he later would (110.) Rejection of hermeticism; shared with neorealist poets (but notes that PPP had few sympathies with them; close to Cesare Pavese (Poem #1 “An Adult? Never! — Never; like existence / that does not ripen” in reject of hermeticism. seen as response to the epigraph of Pavese’s last novel La luna e I falò [The Moon And The Bonfires. R.W. Flint, trans.] “Ripeness is All.” (King Lear)) Giuseppe Ungaretti as influence (111;) Clemete Rebora, Camillo Sbarbaro (111.) Volume “a womb without much of a view. The city is outside, a backdrop, heard rather than seen” [“heard rather than seen might be an interesting way to think certain of PPP’s movie soundtracks] (111.) Translations of the Poems and the originals on pages 113-118.

Procaccini, Alfonso. “Pasolini, the Truant Realist.” Italian Quarterly XXI N 82 – XXII N. 83. Fall 1980-Winter 1981.

Attempts to read Pasolini’s work as asking “what it means to be intellectually provocative” (121) Focuses on Ragazzi di vita.  Ragazzi’s scandal prefigures “more noted, yet less notorious” La dolce vita scandal. The 2 are “the most discordant notes of an Italian overture that will by 1968 substitute real gun fire for the conventional blank shot of cannons.” (dude, come on…) wants to include Accatone’s scandal here, but it had less impact (121.) The Fellini is provocative, the Pasolini provoking (122,) meaning: Ldv was sold as a scandal and catharsis. Rdv collapses the reader’s distance and denies catharsis (122.) Rdv meets the criteria for realist lit, but not its function. Not Hegel’s “epic of the middle class” or a commodity (122.) Not about the ‘mal ontologique” of the bourgeois world (123.) None of Lukacs’ “virile maturity” (123.) A “no alternative” motif dominates the whole of Rdv (123.)  “His message appears to be that to cross the threshold is a futile step” (123.) [Like MR crying while watching Etore work near the center in Mamma Roma.] For PPP “there is no such thing as an Italian language which is ‘national,’ that is a language which embraces the splintered and fragmented sectors of what constitutes Italy as a nation” (124.) Paraphrases material from “Comments on the Free Indirect” on high, middle, and low language, as well as the ideological effects of the centrifugal of the dominant language. Claims Rdv rejects “discorso indiretto libro which AP calls “objective correlative” and is an example of direct discourse [can’t agree] (125.)  Pasolini speaks from “within the outside experience” and this is not a “scientific position” as in Verismo  (125.) This displaces the reader to the margin (125.) Claims that Pasolini does not use the “analogical” level of meaning in Dante’s scheme [which is strange since PPP says otherwise, perhaps not an analogy between the characters and the “universal problem of the everyman, but analogy none the less.] (125.)  Despite claim of non-analogy, claims that characters represent their class (125-6.)  “In Gramscian terms Pasolini defies both the traditional as well as the organic approach” (126.)

Schwartz, Barth David. “Why Americans Will Never Understand Pasolini.” Italian Quarterly XXI N 82 – XXII N. 83. Fall 1980-Winter 1981.

An utterly useless screed pointing out that Pasolini is difficult to understand in the US because Italian cultural history is different and complex. Fears that popularizing Pasolini would result in dorm room posters of him next to “Che Guevara and Bob Dylan.” Some OK sketches information about the Italian context, but there better ways to get it.

Weaver, William. “Il Primo Pasolini Tradotto.” Italian Quarterly XXI N 82 – XXII N. 83. Fall 1980-Winter 1981.

An account of Weavers exchanges with Pasolini while translating “L’appennio.” Weaver makes mistakes in Italian and Pasolini translates them in mistaken English. Fairly amusing.

Incomplete Bibliography of Anglophone Articles Mentioning Il vangelo Secondo Matteo

February 4, 2012 1 comment

Aichele, George. “Translation as De-canonization: Matthew’s Gospel According to Pasolini.”

Cross Currents. Winter2002, Vol. 51 Issue 4, p524, 11p

A consideration of the English subtitled version of Il vangelo secondo Matteo in Benjamin’s terms. (relies mostly on a comparison of “literal translation,” Jacobsen’s “intersemiotic translation and “mechanical reproduction.”) Places the film in a lineage that decanonizes Matthew and says Pasolini free’s it from Christian ideology to release its revolutionary potential.

Baker, George. “An Interview with Pierre Huyghe.” October; Fall2004, Issue 110, p81-106, 26p. Self-serving explanations of his pieces related to Pasolini. Mentions the free-indirect in connection with Il Vangelo  and “seeing through the eyes of someone else.

Baker, George. “An Interview With Paul Chan.” October; Winter2008, Issue 123, p205-233, 29p

Baker arbitrarily brings up Comizi d’amore in relation to Chan’s video trilogy. Bakers believes it had to do with location scouting for Il vangelo. Baker completely misrepresents PPP’s “siding with the cops” over the students “because of class.”

Barnett, Louise K. “Pasolini’s Reputation In The United States” Italian Quarterly XXI N 82 – XXII N. 83. Fall 1980-Winter 1981.

Track’s Pasolini’s reception in the US, divides it into 2 periods: before and after Il trilogia della vita. He remains obscure before the trilogy and becomes better known after. Mentions Il vangelo  as an important film for US critics and the usual Catholic Marxist opposition of critical terms.

Bondavalli, Simona. “Charming the Cobra with a Ballpoint Pen: Liminality and Spectacular Authorship in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Interviews.” Modern Language Notes V. 122. issue 1. April 12, 2007), p. 24-45.

The article analyzes Pier Paolo Pasolini’s spectacular authorship as a response to the modified conditions of power in nineteen-sixties Italy. Perceiving the advent of consumer modernity as the affirmation of a disciplinary society, the author is forced to replace the avant-garde strategy of marginality with a spectacular identity that is created and circulated through both literary and non-literary means. Rather than succumbing to the “death of the author” he redefines authorial identity through images. Interviews, printed, broadcast, inserted in poems or film, serve as the privileged arena to observe the author’s public performance and his employment of it for critical purposes. Brief mention of Il vangelo on page 35:

“When Duflot  [an interviewer] introduces The Gospel according to St. Matthew and its mixed critical reception to bring him back to his “religious education,” Pasolini once again complies, patiently providing an explanation of his relationship with religion. However, the parenthetical remark changes the tone of the answer: “With the powerless desire to clarify once and for all; and not without acrimony towards the stubborn people who will not understand”

Bruno, Giuliana. “Heresies: The Body of Pasolini’s Semiotics.” Cinema Journal. Top of FormVol. 30, No. 3, Spring, 1991.

A useful, if somewhat hasty summary of Pasolini’s film theory focused defending it from semiotic critique as well as on his treatment of the body. Would be better if his literary theory and poetry were included. Kneejerk comparison to Peirce. Suggestive passages on the “kino-mouth” and Foucault. Lays the groundwork for outlining Pasolini’s genealogical/philological approach but doesn’t actually do it. Doesn’t give enough historical context for 60s/70s semiotics. Underplays free-indirect discourse and Marxism in the cinema of poetry. Usefully traces Pasolini’s Anglophone redemeption to Delauretus. Il vangelo mentioned in footnote 43 as an example of “the lumpen proletariat physiognomy and the homosexualgaze in the filmic landscape.” Reprinted in Rumble and Testa, Pier Paolo Pasolini: Contemporary Perspectives.

Leone, Massimo. “A Semiotic Comparison Between Mel Gibson’sThe Passion of the Christand Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Gospel According to Saint Matthew.” Pastoral Psychology; Mar2005, Vol. 53 Issue 4, p351-360, 10p.

“The purpose of this article is to draw a comparison between Mel Gibson’s and Pier Paolo Pasolinis filmic representations of the Passion of Jesus through semiotic instruments of analysis.” Mostly about the Gibson, not very semiotic. Argues that it reflects the world in which we live. Ends with “May the next Passion of the Christ be different.”

Orr, Christopher. “The Politics of Film Form: Observations on Pasolini’s Theory and Practice.” Film Criticism; Winter91, Vol. 15 Issue 2, p38-46, 9p

“The article examines the theoretical essays “Observations on the Sequence Shot” and “The Cinema of Poetry,” by Pier Paolo Pasolini. According to the author, the essays are the most important theoretical statements of Pasolini on film form and these strike most readers as contradictory and mystifying. He notes that Pasolini attempted to develop an alternative Marxist aesthetics in the two essays. Moreover, the article compares Pasolini’s film theories with Andŕe Bazin theories due to their assumptions on the ontology of the cinematic image. Finally, it analyzes Pasolini’s theory from the perspective of the Marxist aesthetic tradition associated with the name of György Lukacs.”

Describes Il Vangelo  in terms of Gerard Gennet’s “multiple internal focalization.”  Sets Pasolini against Bazin. Sees “multiple-focalization” or play of “subjectivities as “montage” because of PPP’s critique of the long take in “Observations on the Sequence Shot.” Analyzes POV in the scene between Gabriel and the magi as of point of view and “relative absence of the films narrator.” Stresses the importance for Pasolini of sub-proletarian focalized content. “We experience the focalization of the gospel as unmotivated and thus it produces distance instead of identification.” More Bordwell than Lukács.

Pasolini, Pier Paolo et al. “Pier Paolo Pasolini: An Epical-Religious View of the World.” Film Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 4, Summer, 1965

“In Italy critics tell you that the only interesting directors are Antonioni and Pasolini. Pasolini has so far been known only secondhand in the United States,

though his Mamma Roma had a festival showing. However, Pasolini’s films also include Accattone, a rough and effective portrait of a likeable Neapolitan pimp; La Ricotta, an ironic tale which formed part of the three- director film Rogopag; The Gospel According to St. Matthew, a kind of cinema-verite Passion; and La Rabbia, a montage film never released. His Gospel was a considerable popular success in Italy, and won several awards from the Catholic Church. The phenomenon of an avowedly Marxist director happily collecting church prizes is perhaps peculiarly Italian;

but it does not begin to exhaust the strangeness of Pasolini,
widely respected poet and novelist, and has been active in the theater too. His contributions to the cinema include many scripts and script collaborations-on films by Soldati, Fellini (Notti di Cabiria), Bolognini (I1 Bell’Antonio, La Giornata Balorda, and La Notte Brava, which was based on a Pasolini novel), Rossi (Morte di un Amico), Luciano Emmer, and Bertolucci (La Commare Secca). The following conversation took place last year between Pasolini and the students and faculty of the Centro Sperimentale de Cinematografia-the Italian film-school in Rome-and is here (slightly abbreviated) translated by permission from Bianco e Nero. The translation is by Letizia Ciotti Miller and Michael Graham.”

“The St. Matthew I have in mind is somehow the exaltation, on another level, of the elements present in Accattone, in Mamma Roma and in Ricotta … Thinking it over I understood that there were profound reasons, that is the liberation of reli gious inspiration, in a Marxist, from the spurious element that had inspired Accattone, in other words the liberation from the despair which was in Accattone and which becomes inspiration as such. According to me, St. Matthew professional actors, and in the same way he ought to relate violently to the bourgeoisie rushing headlong towards a future which is the destruction of man, of the anthropologically human, classical and religious elements of man. This film is the mere visualization of a particular Gospel, that of St. Matthew; it is not a life of Christ, I haven’t put the Gospels together and written a scenario of the life of Christ as has been done other times; no, this is precisely the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, rep- resented as it is; I haven’t added one line and I haven’t taken any out; I follow the order of the story as it is in St. Matthew, with some narra- tive cuts of such violence and such epic force that they are almost magic but which are still part of the Gospel itself, and therefore this film will be a rather strange thing from the stylistic point of view. In fact long sections of soundless film-the characters don’t talk for long stretches but must represent what they say through gestures and expressions alone, as they did in the silent movies-are followed by sections where Christ speaks for twenty minutes at a stretch. It will be a film that will be, unintentionally, very close to that magmatic style which is basically always typical of my stories. That is to say that stylistically I go back to magma, I free myself from closed forms, from elements of regular scenario writing, etc., with this inspiration of a religious and ideological kind which I hope will give unity and compactness to my work” (44.)

Categories: Pier Paolo Pasolini

Notes on Il vangelo secondo Matteo for possible paragraph in Trilogia Della Vita & Salò chapter in Cinema And The Meaning [strikethrough] Of “Life”

Il vangelo secondo Matteo (1964,) establishes Pier Paolo Pasolini’s full genealogical technique in cinematic form,[1] but he does not release its full power until the Quartet Of Life And Death (1971-1975.)  Il vangelo’s genealogy presents Jesus’s subjectivity as an actual revolutionary possibility within mid-1960s neoliberalism. Because Pasolini has not yet discovered the potentialzing effects of the incompossible chronotopes that he will develop in his films from Edipo Re (1967) and Porcile (1969,) the film does not attempt to intervene in its audiences’ life-world by introducing a virtual potential. While the Quartet’s films have quasi unified times and spaces, they produce sexualities as queered potentials through a process of an-aesthetic historization which renders impossible the normal articulations between the films’ chrontopes and the lives of their publics.

In addition to the genealogical techniques at work in his earlier films, Il vangelo adapts a narrative from a pre-capitalist[2] period and articulates references to historical artworks as a pre-textual free-indirect. The film denaturalizes the pacific, religious, Catholic image of Jesus in order to mobilize an angry, revolutionary Christ — a project requiring Pasolini’s full arsenal of genealogical weapons.

According to Pasolini, the free-indirect drives forward the leading edge of cinema, literature and expressive production in general (Cinema of Poetry, 175.) He understood the most advanced cinema, the “cinema of poetry,” as nothing other than a free-indirect cinema. That figure of speech structured Pasolini’s own ouvre across multiple genres from the very beginnings of career as a poet. In verse, prose, and movies, Pasolini merged the languages and images of others with his own, creating new, collective, revolutionary subjectivities.

Pasolini released Il vangelo and published a text on Giulio Herezeg’s Lo Stile indretto libero in italiano in the same year, 1964. The article, entitled “Comments on Free-indirect Discourse” makes a major contribution to the theory of free-indirect discourse initiated by Charles Bally, moving through V. N. Volosinov and beyond Pasolini to Gilles Deleuze[3]. Pasolini’s essay establishes that free-indirect discourse appears in multiple forms, bourgeois and otherwise; that it can generate new collective subjectivities; and shows that the free-indirect can be conceived of in extra-linguistic forms.

The year after releasing Il vangelo, Pasolini published “The Cinema Of Poetry,” which argues that poetry, understood as a capacity for the free-indirect, drives the development of language and reanimates the historically determined subjectivities of those who have used it. The article defines an eponymous corpus of movies in terms of their use of free-indirect images. Pasolini emphasizes the “pretextual” free-indirect, a mode in which a subjective inflection conditions all, or almost all, of the a film’s images, starting before the first shot. He notes that directors sometimes employ that mode as a pretext to substitute their own vision for that of a character, for example Antonioni in Desert Rosso (1964) (Cinema Of Poetry, 180.) That version of the free-indirect can function as a pretext, in the ordinary sense of an excuse or alibi, for a bourgeois monologue, another can also function as a  “pre-text” in the sense of a collective and sometimes institutional layer of reported expression or perception that precedes and extends beyond the text in which it appears (181.)

The link forged by Pasolini between poetry and free-indirect speech follows from his own poetic style.[4] His first published poems, written in a fusion of Friulian dialects and his own standardized Italian tongue, created a language that never existed, yet was grounded in his ethno-linguistic bicycling adventures of the late 1940s. The language Pasolini invented carried with it the consciousness of all those from whom he collected phrases and called forth a virtual People. Pasolini’s Friulian poems were in a fee indirect, reporting speech from various towns dominated by the agricultural proletariat, each with its own sub-dialect, and fusing them with dominant Italian. In doing so, Pasolini was embraced a “sociological awareness of the environment that he evokes” (“Cinema of Poetry” 175.) His early poems express Friulian regionalism as the product of linguistic conflict by gathering various collective subjectivities and languages into a whole whose words form a composition while sounding class and regional differences.

In his first films, Pasolini used both variations on optical point of view associated with character vision and art-historical references to generate moments of cinematic free-indirect[5]. In certain painterly citations, Pasolini reproduced compositions from a single painting such as Jacopo Pontormo’s 1525-8 Deposition Of Christ in La Ricotta. More often, Pasolini cited elements of various historically related paintings and combine them in a single image.  According to Pasolini, the citation of Andrea Mantegna’s Lamentation Of Christ (c. 1480) at the end of Mamma Roma doesn’t just portray Ettore’s death through a single painting, it also summarizes a complex history of earlier baroque painting through its use of chiaroscuro[6]. These citations don’t primarily serve to beautify his films or to create some other visual effect, they function as traces of material culture. The Gian Lorenzo Bernini sculpture (1668?) on the bridge in Accattone doesn’t primarily function as a metaphor for the main character, or to beautify the mis-en-scene, it maps a fact about the history of urban development in Rome[7].

In Il Vangelo, Pasolini uses “generic references[8]” to early Renaissance painting to construct a pre-textual free-indirect which extends throughout and beyond the film, expressing the institutionalized subjectivity of the collective visual memory[9] of the reception of Christianity. The image of ancient Palestine appears to us through the lens of 15th century Italian painting. For example, anyone who has seen Piero della Francesca’s Discovery and Proof of the True Cross (c.1640) will recognize the millinery stylings of the Pharisees from Il vangelo.

Pasolini’s film can be seen as a series of citations of Italian paintings mainly produced between the 15th and early 16th centuries.  Mark Weis has remarked that Paoslini’s use of renaissance painting includes Roberto Longhi in the free-indirect chorus. The shots of Jesus’ baptism bring into play what Longhi called Piero della Franceca’s  spaces of “free assembly” and portray the social not as a collection of individuals, but as a  paratactic totality, (56-7.) Even the handheld, documentary style shots[10] contribute to a free-direct through their articulation of a space similar to that painted by Caravaggio (Weis 59-60.)   In 1968, Pasolini told interviewer Oswald Stack that he had “wanted to do the story of Christ plus 2000 years of Christianity. At least for an Italian like me painting has enormous importance in these two thousand years, indeed it is the major element in the Christological tradition” (Stack, 91.)

In order to allow the chorus of Matthew’s text and citations of early renaissance paintings to sing of Pasolini’s present. Pasolini used locations in southern Italy as analogs[11] for biblical Palestine.  As Maurizio Viani points out, both the Palestine of Christ’s time and Southern Italy were colonies of Rome[12] (137.) For Sam Rhodie, The two areas constitute each other’s past and future: “Calabria now is what Palestine was … Palestine now is what Calabria will become” (164.)  Pasolini also dressed the Roman soldiers in the scene of Christ’s sermon at Gethsemane like Italian riot police from his own time and Herod’s soldiers at the slaughter of the innocents as ”fascist hoods.”[13] Those decisions contribute to the passage of the film’s political constellation into the time of its initial audiences. In order to give voice to the class structure of 1960s Italy, Pasolini cast agricultural workers and members of the sub-proletariat as poor characters and used intellectuals and artists to play characters from more privileged backgrounds. The southern Italian landscape and the faces of the bodies of the extras from the region form another pretextual layer of free-indirect within the film, addressing Christ’s revolutionary drive, depicted as a trans-historical possibility,  to the time of the film’s release[14].

These historical, institutional layers of free-indirect images[15] in the film function as matrices that generate the subjectivities of characters within the diegesis. The renaissance free-indirect differentiates itself into processes of subjectification through portrait-like shots edited into point of view clusters, as shown in these sequential images of Salome and Herodiade exchanging looks with Herod.

In such shot pairs, direct depictions of the subjective perception of 2 or more characters emerge in the free-indirect of 15th century painting. The film viewer can distinguish at least three levels: the subjectivities of the characters in the shot-pair, that of the renaissance series, and the agency narrating the film as a whole. Il vangelo’s narration demonstrates that the subjectivity of characters develops as they perceive a combination of the Gospel setting, the historical traces in the painting citations, and the landscape of 1960 Southern Italy.

Sometimes Pasolini renders subjective becomings through shot counter-shot pairs similar to those used to depict conversations in the classical cinema, but he also uses a variety of other structures. In some examples, a shot of a character looking precedes or follows clusters of often-mobile shots framing social landscapes. The characters in the social landscapes look back at the primary seer, producing yet more filigreed differentiation within Il vangelo’s scheme of subjectification. The thoroughly secular technique of pretextual free-indirect allows Pasolini to articulate social conflicts that lead to militancy.

The shots of character’s faces can reveal a character’s affect while establishing that a character’s glance. Discussing Il vangelo’s facial close ups, Bernard Schwenk (42) writes that “the viewer reads arrogance and self satisfaction in the silent faces closed off like masks, recognizes hope and the wisdom of age in the furrowed expressions of old people, and is confronted with the faces of the peasant youths, which reflect a readiness for violence and raw sensuality.” In the scenes of conversations or monologues, the audience perceives the expressions on the characters faces along with the characters themselves. For example, when the magi start on their journey to Bethlehem, the camera establishes the glance of the three kings at the crowd that has come to greet them and then the film cuts to shots of groups within the assembly with expressions varying from joyous awe to class resentment. The shots of the crowd mimics the glance of the magi looking at the assembly looking at them. Socially distinct groups look at each other.

Il vangelo produces their variegated subjectivities within the institutional free-indirect structures of Matthew’s text, earl renaissance painting, 1960s southern Italy etc., so that the institutional free-indirect layers fuse in order to differentiate into free-indirect expressions of group or individual subjectivity. The layers of free-indirect in Il vangelo never separate the consciousness of single characters or small groups from institutional, collective memory. The more differentiated subjectivities become poles along a continuum with the less differentiated institutional subjectivities without ever fully separating from them.

The depiction of miracles also form a free-indirect, that of a “believer through whom[16]” Pasolini sees Christ.  The form part of the “subjective reality” of the film.[17] The film renders many of them through variations of Jesus’s optical point of view so that his progressive subjectification entwines with the other free-indirect material.

Nothing holy can remain so when concatenated in a cause and event chain — least of all divine consciousness. By the time of his baptism, Pasolini’s Jesus had developed an animus against the state and the rich stronger than John the Baptist’s hatred of the powerful because, from the time of his birth, he had witnessed Power’s brutality toward Mary and Joseph. Up until the obligatory happy ending of the Gospel, Pasolini portrays almost every appearance of the miraculous ambiguously, so that it can be seen as part of the ordinary course of things. For example, Gabriel only appears to Joseph while he is asleep so that the audience might think that he dreams of the angel.

By showing us series of perceptions bearing multiple historical traces producing the subjectivities of the characters, Pasolini secularizes them so that they might serve the revolution. The film shows the audience the characters’ acts of perception through various forms of historical free-indirect images in part to bring out the common, or analogous structures of the world’s conditions that stretch from Matthew’s narrative to Italy in the mid 1960’s. Il vangelo’s  exquisitely filigreed imbrication of free-indirects extends the film’s secular revolutionary impetus from Biblical Palestine through lived time unto our Pasolini’s present. The film seeks to convert a possibility in Matthews gospel into a contemporaneous actuality, namely Jesus’s desire to “bring division,” and set “a man against his father, a daughter against her mother[18]” (M, 10,34.) In other, too pat, words, the film attempted to let a trans-historical construction of revolutionary drive inform something like a Gramscian national popular movie. Pasolini had not yet emphasized the difference between the historical-diegetic modes of production and economic circulation and those of the present the film addressed so that the films intervention too the form of a force of legitimate social hatred[19] that promised to play itself out quasi-mechanically. The Trilogia de vita, sought to intervene in it’s audience’s life worlds by offering a potential.

Works Cited

Allen, Joseph Henry and James Bradstreet Greenough New Latin Grammar for Scholars and Colleges. Boston. Gwinn and Company. 1916.

Pier Paolo Pasolini. “Notes on Free-indirect Discourse.” In Heretical Empiricism. Ben Lawton and Louise K. Barnett Trans. New Academia Publishing. Washington, DC. 2005.

Pier Paolo Pasolini. “The ‘Cinema of Poetry.’” In Heretical Empiricism. Ben Lawton and Louise K. Barnett Trans. New Academia Publishing. Washington, DC. 2005.

—— “Comments on Free-indirect Discourse.” In Heretical Empiricism. Ben Lawton and Louise K. Barnett Trans. New Academia Publishing. Washington, DC. 2005.

Rhodes, John David. “Pasolini’s Exquisite Flowers: The Cinema of Poetry as a Theory of Art Cinema.” In Global Art Cinema Rosalind Galt and Karl Schoonover, Eds. Oxford University Press. New York 2010.

—— Stupendous Miserable City: Pasolini’s Rome. University Of Minnesota Press.  Minneapolis. 2007.

Schwenk, Bernard. “The Chosen Image: Pasolini’s Aesthetics of the Drawn-Out Moment.” Schwenk, Bernard and Michael Semff eds. Pier Paolo Pasolini and Death. Hatje Cantz. Munich. 2006.

Schwartz, Bath David. Pasolini Requiem. Pantheon Books. New York. 1992.

Schwartz, Louis-Georges. “Typewriter: Free-indirect Discourse in Deleuze’s Cinema.” SubStance, Vol..34, no. 3, 2005.

Stack, Oswald. Pasolini On Pasolini: Interviews with Oswald Stack. Bloomington. Indiana University Press. 1969.

Testa, Bart.  “To Film a Gospel … and Advent of the Theoretical Stranger.” In Pier Paolo Pasolini: Contemporary Perspectives. Patrick Rimble and Bart Testa, Eds. University  of Toronto Press. Toronto. 1994.

Viano, Maurizio.  A Certain Realism: Making Use of Pasolini’s Film Theory and Practice. University of California Press. Los Angeles. 1993.

Weis, Marc. “Slide Show Inspiration: On the Effects if Roberto Longhi’s Interpretation of Art on Pasolini.” In Schwenk, Bernard and Michael Semff eds. Pier Paolo Pasolini and Death. Hatje Cantz. Munich. 2006.

[1] The full chapter will establish PPP’s genealogical method and it’s influence on Giorgio Agamben. Leland De la Durantaye (in Agamben: A Critical Introduction Pages 21, 32-3,)Daniel Morris (in an article in Book Forum,) Brian Dillon (in an article in Frieze,) Giancarlo Macaluso, ( and Jaleh Mansoor (in conversation) have pointed out, one need not interpret Agamben’s appearance as the Apostle Phillip in Il vangelo as a historical coincidence. Agamben would go on to become the exemplary twenty-first century  genealogist.


[2] On the “pretextual” free-indirect see Paoslini’s “Notes on Free-indirect Discourse” and “Cinema of Poetry.”

[3] For an analysis of the development of the theory of Free-indirect Discourse, see my article “Typewriter: Free-indirect Discourse in Deleuze’s Cinema.”

[4] In 1966, certain filmmakers and critics, were flabbergasted by Pasolini’s use of the word “poetry” and particularly the term “cinema of poetry.” Pasolini appeared on a panel at the New York Film Festival (which had screened Uccellacci e unccellini (1966,)) with Agnes Varda, Annette Michelson, Andrew Saris, René allio. Michelson in particular attacked Pasolini’s use of the term poetry. She was under the influence of a more or less official monological account of modernism that understood poetry as privileging a metaphorical axis. Like other speakers at the festival who held such a view, P. Adams Sitney, Parker Tyler, and Ken Kelman, she was not a practicing poet and sought to use the term poetry only in order to praise the so-called “American Avant-Guard” and its empty formalism. (See John David Rohdes’ “Pasolini’s Exquisite Flowers: The Cinema Of Poetry as a Theory of art Cinema.”)

[5] The most fundamental disarticulation of optical point of view, resulting in a fusion between character vision and that of the film itself in Momma Roma has been best analyzed in Stupendous, Miserable City. See the passages in chapter 5 on the sequences of Etore and his mother entering the housing projects they live in and the descriptions of the shot of the view of central Rome from their apartment window.

[6] See Barth David Schwartz’s Pasolini Requiem, page 398.

[7] See John David Rhodes’ Stupendous Miserable City: Pasolini’s Rome, pages 42-48.

[8] Con Pier Paolo Pasolini pp. 70-71, cited in Greene, p. 74

[9] Schwenk uses the term “collective memory” to refer to Pasolini’s free-indirect citation of paintings, page 42.

[10] Greene points out that Pasolini replaced the short lenses of Accattone and with long focal length lenses in Il vangelo and that Comizi d’amore foreshadows the handheld documentary technique (75.)

[11] Sam Rodie works the notion that Pasolini’s films function as analogs particularly hard in his book The Passion of Pier Paolo Pasolini. He takes the word from Pasolini, who told Oswald Stack that he remade “the Gospel by analogy” and uses the word “analog” (82) through out the interview.

[12] Rhodes gives the best sketch of the complexity and precision of Pasolini’s figuration of contemporaneous Southern Italy in Il vangelo.  He points out that the locations should be understood in relation to Carlo Levi’s Christ Stopped At Eboli  who’s title suggests that Matera, where Pasolini shot much of Il vangelo, was too wretched for Christ to visit and most importantly that Matera was the cite of the La Martella housing project where residents of the Sassi were relocated. Its presence marks the film’s off screen space, continuing Pasolini’s interest in public housing and urbanism by other means (Stupendous, Miserable City: Pasolini’s Rome, pages 141-142.)

[13] Pasolini, Uccellacci e uccellini, cited in Greene, page 76.

[14] Rohdie points to the sound track as another layer of free-indirect and specifically to the blues and gospel songs in Il Vangelo  as the voice of a sub-proletariat involved actively involved in an insurrection in the early 1960s.

[15] Suggestively, Pasolini starts his “Comments on Free-indirect Discourse” with a consideration of the “historical infinitive,” a term he attributes to Alf Lombard, but which has also been used by Latin grammarians such as Joseph Henry Allen, James Bradstreet Greenough (in New Latin Grammar for Scholars and Colleges. Boston. Gwinn and Company. 1916.) The “historical infinitive” combines the speech of the author with that of the speaker and combines their “sociological and psychological modifications” establishing “norms and intentions … in a choral way.;” the examples of the historical infinitive Pasolini finds in Herczeg aren’t just those of an “individualized character, but of a typical speaker, representative of a whole category of speakers, thus of milieu, even a people.”  He calls this choral form “epic,” meaning a “discourse reanimated collectively” (81.) Pasolini explicitly links this form of free-indirect to “class consciousness in the history of Marx.”   This valance of the word epic has often been missed by those who emphasize his use of the word to describe his films (“Notes,” page 79.)

[16] Duflot Entretiens, cited in Greene (74.)

[17] Conversation with Sartre in “Cristo e il Marxismo” p 26, cited in Greene p. 74

[18] For the importance of this passage for Paoslini’s see Viano, page 132. Viano notes that the film succeed in dividing Pasolini’s Italy by forcing audiences to take a stand on the film.

[19] Viano 144.

Typewriter: Free Indirect Discourse in Deleuze’s Cinema (From SubStance #108, Vol..34, no. 3, 2005. Pages107-135)

January 19, 2012 1 comment


The figure of speech variously called free indirect discourse, quasi- direct discourse, or represented speech, dominates Gilles Deleuze’s two-volume study Cinema, a work also containing a theory of cinematic free indirect images. Deleuze develops a concept of free indirect images, which, he argues, articulate the social in modern cinema, opening political and ethical dimensions of the time-image. Although Deleuze does not present his conceptualization of cinematic free indirect images as a theory of his own writing practice, if we link it to the figure as it appears in Cinema, we cannot but wonder how Deleuze’s writing relates to his thought. Cinema’s reflection on free indirect images exposes a major literary device used by Deleuze since his first books, but the theory mirrors the practice in an interested way, presenting it in a glamorous light that makes it hard to see the position from which Deleuze writes. By ignoring class critique in his theoretical sources, Deleuze makes his own practice seem unquestionably righteous, yet despite its triumphal air and limited, unconscious cosmopolitanism, Deleuze’s theory of free indirect images revitalizes the study of cinematic subjectivity. Beyond the boundaries of film studies, Deleuze’s theory prepares us to think the ethical and political aspects in an implicit, unelaborated concept that informs contemporary modes of social control the concept of life.’

In literature, free indirect discourse presents the speech, writing or thought of a character in the character’s own language, but without using quotation marks, as in the following example from Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend. The italicized phrase below is clearly in the language of the four rough fellows attending Riderhood’s death, and whose thoughts the narrator reports:

See! A token of life! An indubitable token of life! The spark may smoulder and go out, or it may glow and expand, but see! The four rough fellows, seeing, shed tears. Neither Riderhood in this world, nor Riderhood in the other, could draw tears from them; but a striving human soul between the two can do so easily. (440).

Although the most famous theories of free indirect discourse take their examples from literary fiction, philosophical examples can be found throughout Deleuze’s oeuvre.1 The literary character of Deleuze’s philosophical writing has provoked many scholarly remarks, including Deleuze’s own. In the introduction to Difference and Repetition, he writes, a book of philosophy should be in part a very particular species of detective novel, in part a kind of science fiction(xx). At the 1995 International Filmology Colloquium, the first major conference devoted to Deleuze’s Cinema, Raymond Bellour described Deleuze’s books as a kind of novel.

Deleuze uses the figure of free indirect discourse even while he elaborates his concept of free indirect cinema; for example:

As Pasolini aptly comments, Godard also uses characters who are undoubtedly ill, seriously affected, but who are not undergoing treatment, and who have lost nothing of their material degrees of freedom, who are full of life and who rather represent the birth of a new anthropological type. (Cinema I, 75).

The phrase a new anthropological type comes directly from Pier Paulo Pasolini’s essay on The Cinema of Poetry, one of the sources of Deleuze’s theory of free indirect images. Since the association of a cinematic style with an anthropological type is unusual, the expression grafts Pasolini’s language onto Deleuze’s text. Examples such as this one are often closely associated with paraphrases including words from the author’s lexicon, for example, but if [for Pasolini] Antonioni’s vision of poetic consciousness is essentially aesthetic, Godard’s is rather technicist’ (but no less poetic)(75). Pasolini names Antonioni’s style one of aesthetic consciousness, and the word appears here in Deleuze’s text as Pasolini’s. In part, Deleuze uses the related figures of free indirect discourse and paraphrase to isolate phrases and words from other authors in order to appropriate these for his own discourse, as in, for example, What characterizes Pasolini’s cinema is a poetic consciousness, which is not strictly aestheticist or technicist, but rather mystical or sacred’(75).

Such sentences often dispense with any explicit reference to the author’s discourse, although here he describes Pasolini’s cinema using terms from the latter’s theoretical writings. This mode of appropriation allows Deleuze to speak in his own voice and another’s simultaneously, reminding his reader of the arguments he has drawn from the works of his intercessor. Deleuze weaves the words of other authors into his sentences in a way that allows another author some autonomy within Deleuze’s statements, but simultaneously makes that other say something Deleuzean.

Despite differences between the two theorists Deleuze relies on in developing his concept of free indirect discourse, V. N. Volosinov and Pasolini, Deleuze selects passages that make Pasolini and Volosinov seem to agree with each other in their definitions of free indirect discourse, while ignoring each author’s critique of the figure. Deleuze radicalizes their definitions until free indirect discourse becomes the motor for the development of language, the wellspring of cinematic subjectivity and a fundamental resource for ethical and political invention.

Deleuze first mentions free indirect images in chapter five of The Movement Image, in a passage that begins by setting up two categories of images, subjective and objective, and goes on to argue that cinema’s degree zero, its defining possibility, consists in a passage between the two. In a movement typical of his thought, Deleuze constructs a continuum between the poles of subjective and objective images, allowing a strange new category called free indirect images to emerge between them. Ordinarily, according to the limits of our natural perception and the law of the excluded middle, we think of subjective and objective as exclusive categories, calling something either one or the other, but not both. Deleuze, of course, rejects this simple scheme, pointing out that in cinema, a single shot can begin objectively and end subjectively.

Mitry’s Semi-Subjective Image

Before invoking Volosinov and Pasolini’s work on literary free indirect discourse, Deleuze refers to Jean Mitry’s writing about the semi- subjective image(Mitry, 214-219), as a source for his concept of free indirect images. In reading Mitry’s The Aesthetics and Psychology of the Cinema (a book that anticipates his own two volumes, insofar as both attempt to categorize cinema’s images in the course of a narrative about cinema’s development), Deleuze pays particular attention to Mitry’s account of camera movements that anticipate the arrival of a character in the frame or follow someone from behind. Such shots imply a perceiver not quite equivalent to the character and not quite objective, so that the camera seems to become a consciousness accompanying the character. Initially, Mitry, like Deleuze, makes a distinction between subjective shots, taken from a character’s optical point of view, and objective shots, taken from a point of view that is objective relative to the represented drama(207). Very quickly, he becomes dissatisfied with these terms and produces a flurry of synonyms. First, he suggests replacing subjective with personal and objective with impersonal’(207). Mitry does not follow through with this change in vocabulary, reasoning that objective and subjective were already widely used in early 1963 when he published The Aesthetics and Psychology of the Cinema. Nevertheless, seven pages later Mitry suggests a further refinement, this time replacing objective with descriptive and subjective with analytical in order to reserve the term subjective image for an image from the memory or mental life of one of the film’s characters. Even after he introduces the terms descriptive and analytical, Mitry keeps using subjective and objective, as in semi-subjective image, the term Deleuze uses to introduce free indirect images. Mitry’s vacillating nomenclature suggests the difficulty of pinning down the status of cinematic subjectivity, as if the instability of the category prevented him from finding a satisfactory term.

By semi-subjective image (214), Mitry means an image in which the camera sees the character and what the character sees at the same time, so that the subjective reaction is always given in the objective image. According to Mitry, the semi-subjective shot arose in order to surpass a limit in the ordinary point-of-view shot, which, without shots of a character looking, cannot communicate to an audience her feelings about the events presented from her optical point of view. Mitry cites The Lady in the Lake (Montgomery, 1947), shot almost entirely from the detective’s point of view and without reaction shots, as an extreme example. The audience never identifies with the subjectivity of the detective, since every visual perception offered by the film reminds the audience that they see someone else’s experience, and nothing invites spectators to project themselves into Marlow’s character.

Mitry notes that in the mid 1930s,

It became abundantly clear that, though this method of eliminating one of the characters throughout enabled things to be considered from his point of view, it did preclude the perception of any potential reaction that character may have had at the same time … In order to experiencethe feelings of a given character, all the audience had to do is to be with the character, along side him. (215, italics in original)

According to Mitry the semi-subjective image found its mature form in the mid-1930s, finding its true expression(215) in Jezebel (Wyler, 1938), a film in which semi-subjective images give rise to what Mitry calls a shared point of view(216).

Mitry’s semi-subjective image implies an anonymous point of view accompanying the characterone that audiences can take up. Because the camera shows what the character sees and the character seeing it, the spectators become aware of the character’s reaction at the same time as the character, so that their empathy is strongly solicited. As Mitry says about Jezebel,

We are able to associate with her [Julie, played by Bette Davis] and project onto her feeling which might have been ours in similar circumstances [because] without losing any of Julie’s reactions, we can see with the same intensity as she, the object with symbolic prominence in the frame. (216)

According to Mitry, the semi-subjective image implies two perceivers who exist independently of the image itself. One of those perceivers is the character, but the other is sometimes the filmmaker and sometimes the audience. It is as if the impersonal consciousness accompanying the character in the semi-subjective image takes the form of a point of entry for either the filmmaker or the spectators. The camera reports the perception of the character and determines the organization of the film, so that for Mitry, semi-subjective images function hierarchically, subordinating the consciousness of the character to the artistic will of the film.

Mitry ignores the ethical and political implications of the concept of the semi-subjective image developed in these passages. In his analysis of Jezebel, he concentrates on a scene between Julie and Preston (Henry Fonda) alone, and chooses to mention, but not analyze the Olympus Ball sequence where the couple moves through a social space. Julie has insisted on wearing an inappropriate red gown to the ball, and Preston responds by insisting on dancing with her. As they take their place on the floor, the other couples move away from them, their faces disapproving. The camera accompanies Preston and Julie as they move, traveling fluidly in and out of their point of view, showing the behavior of the other couples and Preston and Julie’s reactions in a single take. If, as Mitry argues, the semi-subjective camera invites the audience to imagine itself in the position of the characters it accompanies, the camera in this sequence invites the audience to imagine itself in the position of perceiving, being perceived, and being judged by another. The ballroom sequence uses the semi-subjective image to render cinematically the self-conscious moment of an encounter with others. The disapproval of their peers acts as a force on Julie, Preston, and the camera, determining the image’s movement.

While Mitry’s semi-subjective image goes a long way in describing subjectivity in cinema, his commitment to sketching out the process of audience identification with the camera-eye prevents him from accounting for what interests Deleuze most how cinema produces subjects and the relationships between them. In Mitry’s account, cinema refers to preexisting subjectivities and binds them to predetermined positions with respect to one another. In order to complicate this scheme in which the semi-subjective image corresponds to consciousnesses already given and constrained by one another, Deleuze turns to the third part of Volosinov’s Marxism and the Philosophy of Language. Although Deleuze mainly filters Volosinov through Pasolini, a close look at the original text will show that Volosinov’s work on what he calls quasi-direct discourse allows Deleuze to conceptualize free indirect images as a means of producing subjects.

Quasi-Direct Discourse and Speaking Personalities

Marxism And The Philosophy Of Language attempts to read the political and ethical traces inscribed in forms of reported speech. Volosinov develops his theory of free indirect discourse2 as part of an analysis of reported speech, which he classifies in three categories: direct discourse, enclosing a character’s speech within quotation marks or using another device to mark it off from the author’s utterance; indirect discourse, paraphrasing a character’s utterance in the author’s language; and free indirect discourse, bringing the character’s language into direct contact with the author’s. Each of these figures entails the expression of social judgments and relations. Volosinov calls reported speech a document of the reception of another’s speech. A document not about the accidental and mercurial subjective psychological processes in the soul of the recipient, but the social relations available in the author’s culture that have crystallized into language forms (Volosinov, 117).

Volosinov organizes his chapter as a critical review of theories of free indirect discourse, elaborating his own account of the figure in the course of his readings. From the beginning, the chapter insists on the creative novelty of free indirect discourse. While free indirect discourse can be thought of as combining the tenses and persons of indirect discourse with the tone and word order of direct discourse, Volosinov argues that free indirect discourse is not a mixture of the other two forms of reported speech, but is a completely new, positive tendency in reception of another person’s utterance(142). Inventive nineteenth- century authors did not bring about the development of free indirect discourse; it emerged along with new socioeconomic factors that caused a shift within verbal intercourse producing an essentially new manner of receiving another person’s words(143).

Volosinov understands the emergence of free indirect discourse as a bourgeois rhetoric that expresses social relations in an age of mystification. Understanding the passage from feudalism to early twentieth-century capitalism as the triumph of the bourgeoisie, Volosinov finds in free indirect discourse the main road of development

of modern European languages to be explained in terms of a general, far-reaching subjectification of the ideological word utterance(158).

Reported speech, and especially quasi-direct discourse, crystallizes social relations because they figure an active reception of another’s speech. For Volosinov, the manner in which one receives another’s speech is a social relation determined by class. The speaker and receiver embody social classes functioning as social types, rather than as individuals. The act of reception instantiates the relationship between the groups they belong to.

Free indirect discourse expresses class relations more clearly than the other forms of reported speech, because it preserves both the language of the speaker and the language of the listener so that the reported language takes on accents of the reporting language. Volosinov calls this its specificum, describing free indirect discourse as a single linguistic construction within which the accents of two differently oriented voices are maintained(144). Thus the figure always involves at least two consciousnesses that of the speaker and that of the reporter. Indeed, for Volosinov, free indirect discourse always expresses a social judgment through the interruption of the author’s language by the words of the character, and the author’s subsequent re-inflection of the character’s speech. Without interruption, the author’s words would naturalize his judgments, but once another speaks through him, the two sets of valuations contest one another, and in so doing each reveals the other’s existence.

For Volosinov, encounters between different consciousnesses give life to language; interaction produces changes in a language and drives its history. Language has little autonomy with regard to infrastructure. Material conditions determine social differentiation and sociopolitical order which in turn determine the place, time, conditions, forms and means of verbal communication [Ö] and [Ö] the vicissitudes of the individual utterance(153). Changes in the figures for reporting speech express the mutual orientation of two utterances changing on the basis of a change in the active perception by the linguistic consciousness of the speaking personality,’ of its ideational, ideological autonomy, or its verbal individuality(146). Changes in the active perception of others form the substance of social, political, and ethical life.

For Volosinov, the subject cannot be found in some psychic interior, nor can it function as the cause or explanation of any other phenomena; instead, he calls it an ideologeme that is vague and fluid in character until it achieves definition in the more stable and more elaborated parts of ideological creativity(152-53). Language use produces the speaking personality, its subjectivity, intentions, and stylistic tendencies. A word does not express a personality; instead, the impression left by a word forms the personality, and words express the social intercourse of their producers.

Speaking and writing give rise to determined subjectivities. Unlike the traditional philosophical conception of consciousness as light shining into an otherwise dark world, in Volosinov, language illuminates what is thought to be within consciousness: language lights up the inner personality(153).3 Before uttering anything, the speaking personality remains dark and amorphous, only constituting itself by using words.

Despite Volosinov’s seeming enthusiasm for the production of different subjectivities by means of free indirect discourse, he argues that its spread eroded the declamatory word and replaced the assertion of fact with the reporting of opinion. If free indirect discourse produces subjectivities, it also allows authors to evade responsibility for statements by attributing them to another. The generalization of the figure everywhere other than in scientific texts’(159) prevents a rational analysis of real conditions of existence, producing atomized, alienated subjects, as opposed to the collective subjects of the declamatory, responsible word. Free indirect discourse functions as a linguistic ideology of the bourgeois subject.

Free Indirect Point-of-View Shots

Pasolini’s theory of free indirect discourse varies in three significant ways from Volosinov’s, adding flexibility and strength to his account of the figure. First, Pasolini’s free indirect discourse is capable of calling forth new forms of collectivity as well as producing subjects and expressing their relations. Second, instead of analyzing free indirect discourse as an expression of bourgeois capitalism, Pasolini allows for different ethico-political interpretations of at least two distinct types of free indirect discourse. Third, Pasolini conceptualizes free indirect discourse more abstractly than Volosinov, loosening its ties to language and allowing a consideration of whether cinema is capable of articulating the figure.

Pasolini develops his theory of free indirect discourse in the form of notes on a book by Giulio Herczeg and in an essay on The Cinema of Poetry(1972). Like Volosinov, Pasolini insists on the social character of free indirect discourse, but for him the figure doesn’t express just the social relations between the author and the character  it can also imply a collective audience for the free indirect speech. He makes this point with a citation from Leporello’s aria in the first act of Don Giovanni, where he complains of his servitude using infinitive phrases rather than the first person:

To labor night and day
For someone who doesn’t know how to appreciate; To bear the rain or wind,
To eat badly and to sleep badly.
I want to act the gentleman
And I don’t want to serve any longer.

(cited in Pasolini, 79)

This example differs from those offered by Volosinov in that the speech is that of a character in an opera rather than a character in poetry or prose, and the other subjectivity is not that of the author, but of an unnamed collective. According to Pasolini, Leporello’s use of infinitives not only suggests repeated activity, it suggests a continuous activity shared by a group or class, and also solicits a chorus of addressees. Leporello speaks for the chorus, whose members recognize these social conditions as their own. In such uses of free indirect discourse, the author’s sympathy does not go to the character, but to all those like him(80). For both Pasolini and Volosinov, free indirect discourse involves the linguistic expression of a social type. Hence, every time one has free indirect discourse this implies a sociological consciousness, clear or otherwise, in the author(82).

Like Volosinov, Pasolini argues that true free indirect discourse involves two distinct verbal tendencies, and that a distinction between verbal tendencies can only be the result of different social positions and the different experiences they produce. Unlike Volosinov, Pasolini writes about a false free indirect discourse used by authors to report the speech or thought of characters of their own social type. An author can also fail to recognize differences in life experience(87) and produce a colonizing free indirect discourse that renders the character’s speech in the author’s language. In both cases, an interior monologue passes itself off as free indirect discourse. An author who uses his own language to report the speech of a character only gives voice to her own thoughts; she only reanimates the thoughts and ideology of the character when the words of a character and the words of the author are not the same(87, original italics). Only different language can express the character’s thoughts insofar as they are not those of the author, because words are the only access we have to the thoughts of others. As Pasolini puts it,

The character lives. in another linguistic or psychological, or cultural, or historical world. He belongs to another social class. And the author therefore knows the world of that social class only through the character and his language. (87, original italics)

An author who cannot recognize this

doesn’t know how to recognize the extreme characteristics of psychological diversity of a man whose life experiences differ from his, and who on the contrary believes that he make them his by seeking substantial analogies  almost as if experiences other than his weren’t conceivable. (ibid.)

Pasolini argues that authors naturalize their own subjectivities, each positing his as the norm for all subjectivity, serving the ideological interest of the status quo and performing an act that is the first step toward certain manifestations of the defense of his privileges and even toward racism’(87). For Pasolini, the recognition of difference makes possible an author’s freedom with respect to his socio-economic conditions and the norms of his social type by permitting a radical critique of the author’s speaking position. When an author fails to recognize different life experiences, he belongs to his class deterministically; there is no discontinuity between him and a police chief or an executioner in a concentration camp(ibid.).

Pasolini’s connection between false free indirect discourse and coercive state violence might strike a reader as hyperbolic, but the very possibility of alterity in literature hangs in the balance; the otherness of the character and her world can only be preserved through the alterity and opacity of her language. The assumption that language is transparent and can immediately be translated into thought implies that a particular psychology functions as a norm. Any deviation from that norm can then be construed as a lapse or degradation.

Pasolini sees free indirect discourse as an evolving figure, even as he notes its disappearance from literature. In the rise of modern writing beyond style,Pasolini sees a synthesis of pure plurality and contemporaneity of possible techniques(89). The density of figures in mid-twentieth century writing, and the rapidity with which its language changes register, make it more difficult to identify free indirect discourse, since the difference between the two conflicting utterances in free indirect discourse assumes that each utterance can be differentiated and recog- nized. Since modern writing collapses various consciousnesses into the same flow of text, all that remains of free indirect discourse are stumps’(89). While Volosinov saw a generalization of free indirect discourse as an evasion of responsible utterance and the triumph of bourgeois consciousness, Pasolini argues that as free indirect discourse spreads, it becomes less and less possible, since its use tends to dissolve any stable enunciative position in the text.

Despite the difficulties Pasolini recognized in using free indirect discourse in the literature of his time, he finds it in twentieth-century visual arts. In these passages, free indirect discourse seems to drive the development of modern painting. Avant-garde painters started incorporating separate objects such as newspapers into their canvases. Such objects, previously unknown in painterly tradition, constitute another language, or another mode of expression. The use of a different material opens the work to history, turning the artist and user from makers of history into products of history, by making them work with historically determined expressive material. In pop painting, the preexisting object often comes between the painter’s vision and the world, becoming something cited, like the image of a soup can. The painter mixes something already seen into his expression of a world he has seen, and in the process, it becomes something seen from another point of view.

The section on free indirect images in pop painting allows Pasolini to start thinking about a visual form of free indirect discourse. The use of a found object, of an object heterogeneous to the rest of the canvas, suggests to Pasolini a different source of enunciation and a different reading position. Because the heterogeneous object brings with it its own rules of seeing (often a clichè), that object makes palpable the historicity of images and the history of regimes of painting.

For Pasolini, class conditions reception as much as it conditions production. The intellectual, bourgeois critic can only understand the reported material according to old standards, unable to account for it except as a naked syntagma, the unequivocal and terrible pop-object(92), very different from the ‘innocent’ masses’(92) who are able to read the pop element in its affective complexity, since it comes from a set of objects that make up their daily lives.

True free indirect discourse must bear the inscription of the socio- economic difference between speakers in their language and conscious- ness. As the above example shows, one could also say that free indirect discourse exposes socio-economic differences between audiences. What is important is the existence of different languages, and hence of different social groups. Pasolini interprets the existence of languages other than the dominant one as concrete forms of social resistance.

We can now see why Pasolini ties the freedom of the author to the use of two distinct languages in free indirect discourse. To the extent that an author uses language that makes any experience other than his own seem inconceivable, that author colonizes everything according to the will of his class-consciousness. In so doing, he gives up his own freedom, because it depends on the ability to experience something other than class-based consciousness, and hence on a language different from that of his social class.

At the end of his Notes on Free Indirect Discourse(1972), Pasolini analyzes Chaplin’s Modern Times (1936) as an articulation of two socio- economically different discourses. Pasolini moves between literary and cinematic ideas easily here, by treating the character’s attitudes as discourses, despite the fact that the film is silent. Modern Times depends on two registers: the industrial and the human. So long as the vocabulary of the factory is different from the vocabulary of the worker’s life, Chaplin’s character can play at making the machines into a linguistic-expressive world, staging a critique of the inexpressiveness of technology. When the language of the technocrat can no longer be distinguished from the language of the worker, the linguistic phenomena specific to factories will dominate all language, entailing the subsequent suppression of the margin of freedom assured by the various linguistic levels(100, original italics).

Pasolini articulates the possibility of a cinematic equivalent of free indirect discourse more explicitly and at greater length in “The Cinema of Poetry,” an essay where he draws correspondences between types of reported speech in literature and cinematic forms. According to Pasolini, the cinema’s point-of-view shot corresponds to literature’s direct discourse (176). Just as he wrote of Modern Times’s images as linguistic expressions, he links point of view to a character’s language. Pasolini’s translation of the figure from one medium into another seems simple: both figures bring into play something marked as having another source than the rest of the work in which they appear, but what they bring into play differs in each case. Direct discourse reports the speech of a character, while the point-of-view shot presents a character’s auditory and visual perceptions. The figures concern different elements: one concerns speech, the other concerns the senses of hearing and vision; and surprisingly, Pasolini’s application of a figure of speech to the cinema emphasizes the visual aspect of film at the expense of the sound track.

Instead of translating direct discourse with a cinematic figure for reporting speech (the use of synchronized sound in depicting a conversation, the alternation of shot and counter-shot in editing a conversation, or the written speech of silent film’s inter-titles), Pasolini identifies direct discourse with cinematic point of view. It is as if Pasolini had abstracted the problem of reported speech, construing it as the appearance of signs of the same type that dominate the text in which they appear, but that are marked as having been produced by a subject other than the authorof that textan abstraction already implicit in his notes on the indirect images in pop art. In literature, a character’s speech or thought reported by direct discourse consists of words, linguistic signs  like the rest of the novel in which they appear, but the reader understands those words as enunciated by someone other than the author. In cinema, the point-of-view shot presents acoustic and visual images, cinematic signs  like the rest of the film in which they appear, but the audience understands those images as having been perceived by someone other than the auteur.’

Establishing that single cinematic constructions can traffic in materials associated with two subjects opens the possibility of a cinematic free indirect, the interaction of expressive materials from both of the subjects. In order to evaluate the cinematic free indirect, Pasolini searches for inscriptions of class in point-of-view shots. Social difference inscribes itself on language, because language is a totality of socially differentiating and differentiated languages(176)  in other words, a social relation in and of itself. Variations from the institutionalized forms of language both mark and change social differences. A speaker identifies herself as belonging to a class, and can contest the linguistic norms of her culture, since those norms are produced by language use. In The Cinema of Poetry, Pasolini imagines the inscription of social difference in the cinema only with difficulty. Writing about the cinema as primarily visual art, he observes that while people speak differently according to their cultural and historical circumstances, our eyes are the same the world over’(176). This creates the first difficulty: in literature, free indirect discourse depends on differentiating the character’s language from that of the author, but if seeing is universal, how can a visual art formally register social difference? Pasolini attempts to solve this problem by imagining conditioned, socio-economically differentiated modes of vision, such as those of the peasant and the bourgeois who see different sets of things, but even a single thing in itself appears different through the two different gazes’(ibid.). However, as soon as he presents that solution, Pasolini mitigates it by noting that such differences between gazes cannot be institutionalized.

Given the difficulty of correlating modes of vision with the socio- economic conditions of spectators, all of Pasolini’s examples of free indirect cinema come in the form of films shot entirely in free indirect point of view. Pasolini calls this pre-textual free indirect, a phrase one might understand as meaning both that the logic of the text implies a free indirect view already underway when the film starts, and that a free indirect point of view is used as a pretext for something else. His three major examples of free indirect subjectivity come from films by Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean-Luc Godard, and Bernardo Bertolucci, two of whom (Antonioni and Godard) become major figures in Deleuze’s Cinema 2: The Time-Image. In Antonioni’s Red Desert (1964), the world is perceived by Monica Vitti’s neurotic character Giuliana. With the exception of the sequence depicting her son’s dream, the film looks and sounds as if it were seen and heard through her subjectivity, because it differs from cinematic convention. Those differences, most famously the film’s emphasis on framing, mark Giuliana’s neurotic perception, which in turn becomes the pretext for Antonioni’s radical pictorialism, granting him the freedom from cinematic norms required for his aesthetic project. As Pasolini writes, instead of being the instrument that analyzes alienation Antonioni’s vision becomes alienated in the character’s(179-180).

In films that use pre-textual free indirect point of view, the character with whom the auteur establishes a free indirect relation is irrational, whereas the norms of cinema are based on rational subjectivity. Free indirect images serve to speak indirectly  through any narrative alibi  in the first person singular’(185), but surprisingly, Pasolini claims that this first-person singular never takes the form of an interior monologue, since cinema lacks a means of interiorization  of passing from images to thoughts and conceptual words(176). The cinema contains expressive material that can be associated with both the auteur and a character, but the vision of the auteur and the vision of the character are differentiated according to psychological rather than socio-economic factors.5 For Pasolini, free indirect point of view expresses psychological types.

Although the psychology expressed in free indirect point of view motivates the use of outlandish expressive devices, the filmmaker must use characters of the same socio-economic milieu as himself, analogous to him in culture, language, and psychology  they [must be] exquisite flowers of the bourgeoisie in short, the bourgeoisie, also in film, identifies itself with all of humanity, in an irrational interclassism(185). The cinematic version of literature’s free indirect discourse does not involve the same margin of freedom, since the director cannot mime the vision of someone from outside his social sphere without positing it as a lapse of bourgeois psychology. Modes of vision at variance with the institutionalized way of seeing are understood as expressing the

psychological flaws of the spectators, characterizing them as abnormal, neurotic, or hyper-sensitive(185). For Pasolini, the function of free indirect images in the cinema is the coming into consciousness of contemporaneous capitalism neo-capitalism that discusses and modifies its own structures and that, in the case in point once again, ascribes to poets a late humanistic function: the myth and the technical consciousness of form(185).


Deleuze constructs a new theory of free indirect discourse from references to Mitry, Volosinov and Pasolini. He assembles some of their thoughts into the new idea of free indirect images. In the course of constructing his idea, Deleuze emphasizes some aspects of his sources while ignoring others in short, he reads. From his sources, Deleuze constructs a concept of free indirect discourse and images that opens new insights into the textual politics of films, and to a certain extent, links them to the material conditions of their production, but the concept stops analyzing cinematic production as such. Deleuze could have used free indirect discourse to think about the films he analyzes as being the result of a production process involving multiple authors, but instead he writes of free indirect images as figures used by traditionally invoked and singular auteurs. Nonetheless, Deleuze produces a more flexible, finely articulated notion of free indirect discourse than any of his sources, one directly linked to the ethics and politics of cinema. However, the reading practice required to develop the new concept ignores everything in Pasolini and Volosinov that would force Deleuze to question the ethics of his own utterances.

As we have seen in Cinema 1, Deleuze develops the idea of free indirect images in the course of an attempt to define subjective and objective images through a reading of Mitry. In the course of defining objective and subjective images, Deleuze focuses on objective images that become subjective, and vice-versa. He begins by defining subjective images as things seen from inside the set of things to which they belong, and objective images as things seen from outside the set to which they belong. The camera’s ability to pass from a position within a set to a position outside of it complicates Deleuze’s nominal definitions of subjective and objective images, since any given shot can conceivably be re-determined as subjective or objective by being re-framed by a camera movement. The chapter begins with three cinematic examples, La Roue (Gance, 1923), The White Sheik (Fellini, 1952) and Pandora and The Flying Dutchman (Lewin, 1951). Of these, only La Roue is silent, but Deleuze deals only with the films’ visual aspects. He then turns to Mitry’s analysis of the shot-reverse shot to illustrate the fluidity with which the cinema passes from objective to subjective.

If Volosinov and Pasolini emphasize the sociological aspect of free indirect discourse, Deleuze emphasizes its ethical and political aspects. Before Deleuze introduces the term free indirect, he cues the reader to attend to its ethico-political importance. Deleuze introduces Mitry’s term semi-subjective image as a way of starting to describe the camera’s passage between objectivity and subjectivity, emphasizing its ability to be withthe characters. The phrase being-with comes from Mitry and appears in quotation marks in Deleuze’s text, but in the very sentence after Deleuze introduces this phrase, he translates it with the word Mitsein. Mitsein, a term from Martin Heidegger’s lexicon, alerts us that ethical relations are at stake here. 6 Deleuze goes on to associate this with John Dos Passos’s camera eye,which Deleuze describes as the anonymous viewpoint of someone unidentified among the characters,’7 who implicitly judges their actions.

Deleuze’s description of this anonymous viewpoint casts the semi- subjective image as a primal cinematic substance, from which the objective and subjective images differentiate themselves. According to Deleuze, Pasolini thought that free indirect images expressed the essence of cinema. Pasolini’s essay on The Cinema of Poetry, which Deleuze refers to here, argues that cinema only manifests pre-textual forms of free indirect images, infinitely less articulated and complex than the figure in literature (Pasolini, 176). By making Pasolini identify free indirect images with the essence of cinema, Deleuze forges an ontological link between cinema and subjectivity.

Deleuze equates the perception-imagethe zero degree of cinematic images in his taxonomy with the semi-subjective, arguing that cinematic perception differs from natural perception, since natural perception does not have a semi-subjective form. As we move through the world, our perceptions are either objective or subjective, but never both. This makes it difficult to find a status for this semi-subjectivity, and Deleuze writes, this is why Pasolini used a linguistic analogy,(72)10 namely, that of free indirect discourse. The claim that Pasolini uses a linguistic analogy in order to overcome the difficulties of defining an unnatural mode of perception is not quite accurate. My own reading of the “The Cinema of Poetry” shows that Pasolini turns to free indirect images because they enable a linguistic analogy to be made; he does not turn to language in order to explain something in the cinema. Pasolini

looks for a cinema of poetry in order to analyze the social function of the film artist according to the model of the poet. As he argued in his earlier text Notes on Free Indirect Discourse, reading the figure allows him to analyze texts as the products of socio-economic types. Deleuze only invokes the parts of Pasolini’s essays concerning the figure’s potential to express different subjectivities and solicit responses from new audiences, and hence create new social groupings. He reads Pasolini’s essay as an attempt to explain an emerging style of cinema rather than as a call to transform cinema.

After having introduced Pasolini, Deleuze’s text uses free indirect discourse to combine Pasolini’s argument with his vocabulary:

It might be said that a subjective perception-image is a direct discourse and, in a more complex way, that the objective perception- image is like an indirect discourse (the spectator sees the character in such a way as to be able, sooner or later to state what the character is supposed to be able to be seeing). (72)

Here Deleuze retains Pasolini’s comparison between the cinema’s visual elements and figures for reporting speech, as well as some of Pasolini’s words: direct discourse and free indirect discourse. Deleuze also makes significant changes in Pasolini’s language and makes explicit a possible implication of his argument. Deleuze substitutes perception- image for point-of-view shot in Pasolini’s argument, and adds the comparison between the objective image and indirect discourse. The perception image is not quite a point-of-view shot, since there is an objective perception image but no objective point-of-view shot, and also because Deleuze uses the word image sometimes to mean a single shot and other times a concatenation of shots. Although Pasolini makes the comparison between the point-of-view shot and direct discourse, he does not write about a cinematic equivalent of indirect discourse.

These alterations transform Pasolini’s article from an aesthetic consideration of cinema into a consideration of how cinema produces subjectivity. By making the comparison between indirect discourse and objective images, Deleuze changes indirect discourse from a means of reporting speech to an arrangement of subjectivity. He describes free indirect discourse as an enunciation taken within an utterance which itself depends on another enunciation(73). Such a description is to be found neither in Volosinov nor in Pasolini. The word enunciation and the argument here echo Deleuze’s collaborative work with Felix Guattari on assemblages of enunciation a term Deleuze will soon invoke.

Deleuze’s example of free indirect discourse in literature, taken from Volosinov, is: She summons up her strength: she will rather endure torture than loose her virginity(73). Volosinov finds this passage in an example from an argument by one G. Lerch, who contends that free indirect discourse can be found in medieval French literature. As Ann Banfield points out in Unspeakable Sentences, Lerch’s argument is unconvincing because the passage lacks any of free indirect discourse’s linguistic markers, and Volosinov only endorses Lerch’s argument conditionally, writing in a footnote that Lerch’s reading is only the most probable interpretation of the lines(cited in Banfield, 229). Banfield traces a complex history of interpretation in which analysts disagree about whether the passage cited in Deleuze is free indirect discourse. Deleuze’s use of such a questionable example illustrates his tendency to understand all enunciation as an assemblage, hearing very subtle distinctions among lexicons, then figuring those differences as voices that produce speaking subjectivities, all the while never doubting the alterity of the languages involved.

Following this example, Deleuze paraphrases Volosinov’s argument about free indirect discourse as the production of two subjects in language, one of which constitutes a character in the first person, the other of which is present at his birth and brings him onto the scene(73). Deleuze gives voice to Volosinov’s theories of the speaking self as an ideologeme, only realized in speech, and of free indirect discourse as a single linguistic construction that maintains two voices within itself. However, he changes the emphasis from free indirect discourse as the crystallization of social tendency to free indirect images as the production of subjectivity. To play on Deleuze’s vocabulary, one might say that Deleuze’s work on free indirect images transforms a literary device determined by socio-economic conditions into a machine for producing subjectivities.

This shift in stress anticipates Deleuze’s observations on free indirect images in Cinema 2, where the figure makes it possible to call a people into being. Instead of writing about free indirect images as a product of bourgeois culture, Deleuze writes about the figure as a possible means of creating a collective of the oppressed and marginalized. By combining Volosinov’s argument that the speaking personality is created in the act of speaking, with Pasolini’s contention that certain uses of free indirect discourse imply a choral listener, Deleuze forges the figure into a political instrument. However, by ignoring either argument about free indirect discourse as a figure produced by a given class in a specific set of economic relations, he forecloses the political and ethical critique of free indirect discourse and images.

Deleuze establishes free indirect images as a technique of dual subjectification, as if this had been Volosinov’s claim, and then asserts that Pasolini took up this model. Deleuze explains that for Pasolini and Volosinov, free indirect discourse rather than metaphor drives the development of languages, because metaphor homogenizes language while free indirect discourse keeps the system heterogeneous, far from equilibrium(73). Although both Pasolini and Volosinov attribute the development of European languages to free indirect discourse, they do so for a very different reason. Both writers argue that free indirect discourse is the essential bourgeois figure. Thus, the primacy of free indirect discourse comes from socio-economic causes, rather than linguistic or aesthetic ones. Deleuze goes even further from his sources, arguing that free indirect discourse cannot be analyzed according to linguistic categories, which are always homogenous, but which are, as Pasolini says, a matter of style. Here, he makes the opposite claim about language from Pasolini, for whom the figure depends on linguistic categories, even when understood as a stylistic device. Rather than understanding the use of words from one dialect in a text written primarily in another dialect (the high and low versions of a language, for example) as an act of imitation or mimesis, Deleuze understands it as a correlation between two asymmetrical proceedings within language, so that the correlation matters and not the language itself, because that correlation is the simultaneous production of two subjects.

Deleuze’s differentiation of subjects can be found in thought and art as well as language. Deleuze identifies it with the cogito that can only be born by being reflected in a transcendental subject that thinks it. In the cinema, a subject cannot be born without another subject who watches it and assumes the first subject’s freedom for itself. Although this model of the split self has been a philosophical commonplace since Descartes, Deleuze appends a long quotation from Bergson’s Mind-Energy by way of elaboration. Bergson describes two egos as constantly in the process of differentiation, in an oscillation of the person between two points of view on himself, a hither and thither of the spirit’(cited in Cinema I, 74); an oscillation that Deleuze reminds us is a sort of being with.

In the cinema a character acts on the screen, and is assumed to see the world in a certain way. But simultaneously, the camera sees him, and sees his world, from another point of view that thinks, reflects and transforms the viewpoint of the character(74). For Deleuze then, free indirect discourse has an equivalent in the cinema to the extent that free indirect discourse is a model of the cogito or subject always differentiating itself from itself, always becoming another. This first formulation of free indirect images in Cinema is specular, as Deleuze has not yet broached film sound.

If for Pasolini, in Red Desert Antonioni is able to transform Giuliana’s neurosis into delirious aestheticism, for Deleuze, this ability comes from the camera’s rethinking of Giuliana’s point of view, and the character’s neurosis marks the subject’s difficult birth into the world. This correlation between a perception-image and camera-consciousness goes beyond subjective and objective to a pure form of an autonomous vision. Deleuze defines the cinema of poetry as a perception image whose content is reflected in an autonomous camera consciousness a reflection that grants the perception image its status as free indirect subjectivity.

Although Deleuze recasts Pasolini’s arguments about free indirect point of view in Antonioni and Godard in the language of the reflected cogito, in Cinema the universal cogito is much less important than the subjectivity of character types. For both Volosinov and Pasolini, free indirect discourse allows the expression of subjectivities conditioned by class differences; Deleuze values free indirect images because they allow subjectivities of different types, such as the neurotic. Here, the noun neurotic names a category of subjects in the same way that the common noun bourgeois does in Pasolini. As the man losing his identity(75), or a subject becoming less differentiated, the neurotic exposes the conditions of normative subjectivity while providing an alternative to it, or to borrow Deleuze’s words, a line of flight from it. The director affirms himself in him while distinguishing himself from him(75), an image that repeats not only Bergson’s two cogitos but also the key image of differentiation in Deleuze, that of the lightning in the night sky in Difference and Repetition.10

Deleuze’s displacement of Volosinov and Pasolini’s socio-economic classes with character types supports the usually overlooked sociological or anthropological tendency in the Cinema books. Throughout the two books, Deleuze argues that various groups of films construct images of different kinds of social relations, and think them through different categories and kinds of reasoning. Deleuze’s use of common nouns allows him to write about films as social organizations of character types: for example, in his comparison of W. D. Griffith and S. M. Eisenstein in Cinema I’s first chapter. These arguments depend on a rhetoric that calls characters not by their proper names, but with common nouns that name different types with varying degrees of specificity: the young girl(30), a Negro(30), the Chinese opium addict(31), the people(34), the Boyars(34). The variation in the specificity of the nouns corresponds to variations in the ways films conceptualize social categories. Free indirect images are like undifferentiated plasma of subjectivity that generate types. Ultimately, it becomes possible for cinema to reflect on its own production of types, for instance in Godard, who, according to Deleuze’s free indirect account of Pasolini’s essay, uses characters representing the birth of a new anthropological type(75). Deleuze goes on to write that Eric Rohmer’s films have a truly ethical

consciousness, formally transforming the cinema to make it capable of bearing the free indirect discourse of the modern neurotic world. He claims that Rohmer creates an image that is an exact equivalent of an indirect discourse, as in Percival (1978) or the Marquise of O (1976). Both directors work on the relationship of the image and the text, i.e., in Percival, the chorus reports what the characters say indirectly. While all free indirect relations are ethical encounters, Rohmer’s films are the most self-aware of this.

Deleuze concludes the first section of chapter 4 by emphasizing free indirect’s oscillation between objective and subjective, and its status as a higher aesthetic form(76). He writes that in Pasolini’s films the free indirect subjective is like a reflection of the image in a camera-self- consciousness.(76). This gives camera-consciousness an extremely formal dimension(ibid.) It is precisely this self-consciousness about subject production that constitutes the ethical and political hope of the cinema.

Cinema 2

In Cinema 2, Deleuze returns to free indirect images, introducing them to address subject-object relationships and their development, a relationship that is the concern of the rècit ,or tale. Deleuze writes, According to convention, what the camera sees’ is called objective, and what the character sees is called subjective(148), and the rècit is the development of these two series of images and the relations between them. In classical or organic cinema, what the camera sees is the truth, but what a character sees might not be. Narratives tend to involve a character learning to see as the camera sees; but in the cinema of poetry, the distinction between what the character saw and what the camera saw objectively vanished because the camera entered into a relation of simulation (mimesis’) with the character’s way of seeing(148). With the emergence of this sort of free indirect subjectivity, the story no longer refers to the truth but becomes a pseudo-story’11 that decomposes and recomposes subjective and objective images. Thus the cinema of poetry becomes capable of composing directly with the medium’s mode of subjectification: in other words, of attaining self-consciousness about its production of types.

As if in an aside, Deleuze notes that free indirect images emerge in non-fiction films as well as in art cinema. As the argument develops, it becomes clear that various post-war documentaries provide the strongest examples of free indirect images in modern cinema, a free indirect connected to the world beyond the film so intimately that such a film can call a people into being. Deleuze analyzes these films as if they were machines for producing new collectivities and new social relations.

Deleuze argues that despite the obvious opposition between documentary and fiction films, both traditionally address their spectators as if they told the truth, and for both modes, the truth means an accord between what the camera sees and what the character sees. Like fiction films, documentaries often take the form of double systems, where the camera sees objectively and the characters see subjectively. In this passage Deleuze calls this adequation between two series of images a cinematographic fiction(149) even in documentaries. He suggests that in moving away from such an articulation of perception, cinema undergoes its own version of Nietzsche’s critique of truth.

Here, Deleuze contests a traditional opposition of film criticism, just as he earlier claims that film history is better divided into pre- and post- World War II periods than into pre- and post-sound periods. Presently he claims that the distinction between cinemas of fiction and documentary is less important than the distinction between films that ground truth in an accord between the subjective and the objective, and films that don’t. For Deleuze, free indirect images emerge in certain documentaries of the 1960s and undo the ideal of truth based on cinematographic fiction.

Deleuze assembles a band of cinematic Nietzscheans to perform the critique of truth: John Cassavettes, Sheryl Clarke, Pierre Perrault, and Jean Rouch. All of these filmmakers abandon a pre-constituted model of truth to become creators of truth, a feat they are able to accomplish by virtue of free indirect figuration. Deleuze uses the term less frequently here than in the sustained consideration of the figure in Cinema 1. When it comes up, it is often at the conclusion of an argument, and points to a general trait of the modern cinema. Just as Pasolini argues that free indirect discourse saturates modern writing, Deleuze claims that it saturates modern cinema. Deleuze describes the way his band of filmmakers produce multiple subjectivities in their work through a figurative process of differentiation.

The analysis starts with Perrault, and Deleuze’s larger claims about Perrault apply to the other filmmakers as well. For example, Deleuze writes that Perrault criticizes fiction insofar as it forms a model of pre- established truth, which necessarily expresses the dominant ideas or the point of view of the colonizer(150); the critique of pre-established truth politically validates the practice of all the filmmakers at the end of chapter 7. If pre-established truth expresses the point of view of the colonizer, legend and memory exemplify the story-telling function of the poor(ibid.). The filmmakers Deleuze assembles here all present real characters in the act of making fiction, an act that Deleuze argues contests dominant ideas and established models of truth by presenting the character in the process of changing, or as Deleuze puts it, of becoming. Images of characters telling stories constitute an enunciation given in an utterance, which in turn depends on another enunciation. We see and hear the character narrating in a film assembled by someone else. Such images correspond exactly to Deleuze’s definition of free indirect discourse in literature.

Instead of presenting characters as identities, these filmmakers present real characters playing characters from the past, or legendary characters; in this literal sense, they give us characters becoming another (character) or differentiating themselves from themselves. In these films, the storytelling function is given over to the characters; the filmmaker’s fictions are replaced by his real characters’ rÈcits. In that sense, the filmmaker, or the source of the film’s enunciation, also becomes another.12 The stories told by the characters in these films are stories representing groups or types whom Deleuze calls peoples, and the characters relinquish the role of the storyteller to characters of other types. It is thus, Deleuze claims, that the films in question call a people into being, rearticulating in a different register Pasolini’s claim about the choral address of the infinitives in Don Giovanni.

In Deleuze’s analysis of Perrault, he argues that direct cinema, cinèma- vèritè, and cinema of the lived consist of a free indirect figure who articulates two different points of view and produces two different subjectivities. Concluding his analysis of Perrault, Deleuze calls this figure the free indirect discourse of Quebec, imaging the story-telling function passing from one to another, until it passes through a multitude and becomes a discourse with a thousand heads(151). This account of free indirect images ignores the problem of whether the films present a story- telling function of the poor that comes from outside the filmmaker’s realm. Because the characters come from our world, Deleuze assumes that the film depicts their stories from their point of view. Clearly these films attempt to accomplish this, but whether they succeed is another matter.

Rouch articulates free indirect images through characters who are defined by a passage from one state to another: through trance in Le Matre fou (1955), and through role-play in Moi un Noir (1959), for example. In these films the character becomes both real and fiction, because he is real as he invents his fictional character. In order to show this change in the character, the camera constantly links him to images from before and after the process of self-differentiation. Rouch’s characters are constantly becoming another and [are] no longer separable from this becoming that merges with a people(152). Rouch and the characters both make a free indirect discourse. Since free indirect images and discourse produce subjects, Deleuze can link them with the possibility of producing an image of subjects yet to come, and to forge out of it a cinema of absolute non-self identity.

The argument goes on to identify Rouch’s free indirect with a cannonical French formulation for the self in differentiation Rimbaud’s famous phrase Je est un autre. Having just differentiated Rouch from Perrault on the grounds that Perrault makes films that attempt to rediscover the lost identity of a repressed people, while Rouch escapes his civilization to find a different identity, Deleuze’s citation of Rimbaud is apposite, since the poet left France for Africa in order to become something other than a poet. Here, free indirect images have become a generalized possibility for subjective becoming in the cinema. Deleuze calls this the very poetry that Pasolini looked for in fiction films.

Perault and Rouch return to a similar argument at the end of chapter 8, Cinema, Body and Brain, but this reprise considers the story-telling function of free indirect discourse in terms of literal telling or speech. This speech act creates itself as a foreign language in a dominant language(223).13 This becomes the goal of Third-World cinema, which seeks through trance or crisis, to constitute an assemblage that brings together, in order to produce collective utterances, as the prefiguration of the people who are missing(188).


In his consideration of Shirley Clarke and John Cassavettes, Deleuze writes free, direct discourse’(153) with a comma between free and direct to indicate the way the figure supposedly allows both filmmaker and character to express and set free the becoming of a minority. At the end of the chapter, the whole cinema becomes a free, indirect discourse operating in reality(155). In both sentences, the comma after free implies that the figure is on the side of liberty.14 The politico-ethical aspiration of freeing the expression of a minority collectivity is thus associated with all the time-images that Deleuze links to free indirect cinema. Deleuze writes that the time-image erases internal monologue in favor of a free indirect discourse and vision(155).

Deleuze’s analysis of the figure in Jean Rouch’s films is extraordinarily rich. By connecting free indirect discourse with the depiction of characters in the act of story-telling, he reveals the purest example of the figure in cinema. By choosing films with real characters playing themselves, Deleuze convinces us that free indirect discourse has some relation to actual ethical and political problems. By choosing to focus on two ethnographic filmmakers, he is able to show how free indirect discourse works to construct collectivities by allowing multiple voices to address multiple spectators who themselves become potential speakers.

Yet Deleuze’s analysis of Rouch and Perault does not mention the names of their collaborators, only the names of the auteurs. Even in this account of the most radical examples of free indirect discourse in cinema, the other voices lose their identity, while the name of the auteur remains. This rhetoric functions as an erasure of the very oppressed minoritygroups that cinema’s free indirect is supposed to call into being. The names of the members of those groups never appearan absence that contradicts an important aspect of Rouch’s project.15 For Rouch not only made films; he trained collaborators like Damoure Zeka in both filmmaking and anthropology. He wanted to de-institutionalize both practices. If Volosinov and Pasolini’s critiques of free indirect discourse had been maintained in Deleuze’s reading, along with the valorizing aspects of their theories, Deleuze might have been able to rethink this erasure, or at least to make explicit a theory of authorship that might mitigate it.

The erasure of other names might have been avoided through a simple consideration of who did what on a particular film. But although Deleuze defines free indirect discourse as an assemblage of enunciation and here he uses films produced under very specific circumstances (in the midst of ongoing life, with real characters, without scripts) and with very specific equipment (portable 16-mm cameras, crystal-synch tape- recorders)he never develops a sustained consideration of free indirect discourse in terms of material circumstances of production.16 Since Deleuze calls free indirect discourse an assemblage of enunciation, it is all the more surprising that he does not address the collective nature of film production.

If Deleuze ignores production history, he also avoids formal analysis of his examples of cinematic free indirect discourse, although such an analysis would be required by Pasolini’s critique of the figure. The only way to assess whether a filmmaker has allowed another subject to emerge in a film or has disguised his own position as that of another is to analyze the form of the example of free indirect subjectivity in question. In Dialogues, Deleuze tells Clair Parnet that he often had to do a lot of work to make the authors he reads, say what he wanted them to say. This suggests that Deleuze consciously uses the figure to re-accentuate others’ writings, so that they say something else. Without a formal analysis of the films of Rouch and Perault, it is uncertain whether their use of free indirect subjectivity does the same thing. If so, another argument would be needed to show that it could nonetheless still call a people into being. For if the filmmaker’s control of the cinematic medium ends up determining the speech of other subjects in the film, can the voices in the film be thought of as multiple?

The triumph of free indirect images in modern cinema reflects Deleuze’s use of the figure in an alluring light. Deleuze’s selective reading of Pasolini and Volosinov is an interested reading. He ignores the parts of their arguments that would challenge his own writing, and thus allows the figure to function as a utopian lure, promising a politics and ethics within modern cinema, but he never shows us how new modes of social organization inform the screening room.

Despite the limits of Deleuze’s ethical and political argument for free indirect discourse, Cinema articulates one of the most suggestive accounts of the production of subjectivity in the cinema. Furthermore, the theory of free indirect images and discourse in Cinema prepares us to think the unthought in thought, or the question of life. In chapter 7 of Volume 2, Thought and Cinema, Deleuze writes that the task of the cinema is to make us believe, not in a different world, but in a link between man and the world, in love or life, to believe in this as in the impossible, the unthinkable, which nonetheless cannot but be thought(171). Part of this project of discovering the identity of thought and life must involve the analysis of the concept of life in contemporary social and biological sciences, and a resistance to the use of the word life within contemporary social control systems; otherwise, lifeis taken to be already thought.’17

According to Giorgio Agamben, Deleuze concentrated his efforts on producing a thought of life that does not consist only in its confrontation with death and an immanence that does not once again produce transcendence(238). That thought will require us to discern the matrix of desubjectification itself in every principle that allows the attribution of a subjectivity(ibid.). Such a matrix appears in free indirect discourse and images, insofar as they express subjectivities at the moment of their differentiation rather than as always already differentiated.

Agamben further points out that the task of thinking the concept of life requires
a genealogical inquiry into the term life. This inquiry will demonstrate that life is not a medical and scientific notion but a philosophical, and theological concept, and that many categories of our philosophical tradition will have to be rethought accordingly. (239) Deleuze’s theory of free indirect images gives us to understand that the figures through which the notion of life are rendered into text must also be accorded their place in the genealogy Agamben proposes.

The remainder of chapters 7 and 8 consider the cinema as a mechanism for thinking life and believing in the body as the germ of life. These passages write about cinema in order to create concepts for a coming philosophy of life. Deleuze’s taxonomy of the cinema prepares for the philosophy of life by associating a set of character types with each category of cinematic image. The cinema allows Deleuze to think about images in terms of life and particularly in terms of social life. The free indirect necessarily figures the social since it always involves relations between multiple consciousnesses, 18 and the character types define the categories of social life that allow it to be conceptualized. In this scheme, free indirect images provide a model for the production of new social subjects in the cinema. Whether these new subjects are authentically other or are disguised versions of the filmmaker, Deleuze’s cinema sets them to work thinking life and imagining new forms of social relations. A task for some readers will be to imagine how such forms might be thought and imagined in light of the limits of free indirect discourse and the historical circumstances of film production.

Works Cited

Agamben, Giorgio. Absolute Immanence.Potentialities: Collected Essays in Philosophy. Ed. Daniel Heller-Roazen. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1999.
Bally, Charles. Le Langage et la Vie. Series Linguistica. Zurich: Max Niehans, 1935.

Banfield, Ann. Unspeakable Sentences: Narration and Representation in the Language of Fiction. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982.
Bellour, Raymond. Penser, Raconterin Fahle and Engell, 22-40.

BensmaÔa, Rèda. L’ Espace Quelconque’ comme Personnage Concpetuel,’in Fahle and Engell, 140-52.

Gilles. Cinema 1: L’image-Mouvement. Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1983.

Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema 1: The Movement Image. Trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara

Habberjam. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986. . Cinema 2: L’image-Temps. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 1985.

Difference and Repetition. Trans. Paul Patton. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995.

Deleuze, Gilles, and Claire Parnet. Dialogues. Trans. Hugh Tomlinson, Barbara Habberjam and Eliot Albert. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002.

Fahle, Oliver, and Lorenz Engell, eds. Der Film Bei Deleuze. Le CinÈma selon Deleuze. Weimar Paris: Verlag der Bauhaus-Universit‰t Weimar Presse de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, 1997.

Hirschkop, Ken. Bakhtin Myths, or, Why We All Need Alibis. South Atlantic Quarterly 97.3/4 (1998): 579-89.

Dickens, Charles. Our Mutual Friend. New York: Penguin Classics, 1998.

Eliaz, Ofer. The Absent Corpse: Vision and the Institution Free Indirect. Unpublished paper, 2001.

Guattari, Felix. Institutional Practices and Politics. The Guattari Reader. Ed. Gary

Genosko. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1996.
Johnston, John. Machinic Vision.Critical Inquiry 26.1 (1999): 27-48.
Mitry, Jean. The Aesthetics and Psychology of the Cinema. Trans. Christopher King.Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1997.

Pasolini, Pier Paolo. The Cinema of Poetry, in Heretical Empiricism, trans. Ben Lawton and Louise K. Barnett. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988.

Comments on Free Indirect Discourse, in Heretical Empiricism.

Tihanov, Galin. Volosinov, Ideology, and Language: The Birth of Marxist Sociology from the Spirit of Lebensphilophie.South Atlantic Quarterly 97.3/4 (1998): 599-621.

Ungar, Steven. The Cutting Edge: Subjective Voice and Colonial Culture in Rouch’sMoi, un Noir.Society For Cinema And Media Studies. London, 2005.

Volosinov, V.N. Marxism and the Philosophy of Language. Trans. Ladislav Matejka and I.R. Titunik. New York: Seminar Press, 1973.

1. Deleuze is not the only philosopher to use the trope; Levinas and Derrida rely on it,

to name two French theorists contemporaneous with Deleuze.
2. Although Volosinov refers to the figure as quasi-direct discourse rather than free indirect discourse, I will follow Deleuze’s terminology. Marxism and the Philosophy of Language mentions free indirect discourse in citations of Bally, but a reading of the differences implied by the two terms, while potentially creative in another context,

falls outside the scope of this inquiry.
3. Volosinov’s description of language as illuminating and giving form to the personal-

ity resembles Bergson’s account of consciousness as a photographic plate exposed to the light of perceptionan account Deleuze gives a careful reading of in the first volume of Cinema.

4. In fact, there are more than three important differences between Volosinov’s and Pasolini’s accounts of the free indirect. For Pasolini, the subject seems to exist before language use, whereas for Volosinov, language use produces the subject. How- ever, these differences do not matter in Deleuze’s appropriation of their work.

5. While this implies that the free indirect point of view articulates a psychological consciousness rather than a sociological one, things become more complex when Pasolini writes about the free indirect in Godard. He seems to associate Godard’s free indirect with institutional or technical vision rather than character perception. Hence Godard is capable of expressing the average of a new anthropological type(182) by analyzing the habits and gestures of his characters.

6. Given Deleuze’s antipathy toward Heidegger, this invocation of him at the very moment when Deleuze elaborates the ethical structure of the free indirect deserves attention in a properly philosophical study.

7. Note the importance of anonymity here. In Deleuze, the anonymous, preceded by the definite article, can represent a type; here, one pole of the semi-subjective is defined in terms of such anonymity.

8. Deleuze seems to feel that he must justify Pasolini’s comparison of film to language since he devotes several of Cinema’s key passages to a critique of the application of linguistic categories to film. In order to validate his reference to Pasolini, Deleuze must excuse the essay’s attempt to understand film in terms of literature.

9. According to Felix Guattari, the assemblage of enunciation provided the ulterior problematic of Capitalism and Schizophrenia, which sought to relate prepersonal subjectivity  prior to the totalities of the person and the individual  and supra personal, that is, concerning phenomena of the group, social phenomena(112).

10. Dorothea Olkowski analyzes Deleuze’s fascination with difference between things that cannot be separated in Gilles Deleuze and the Ruin of Representation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999).

11. Deleuze takes the term pseudo-storydirectly from Pasolini’s Cinema of Poetryessay.

12. Hence the contested authorship of Rouch’s films. See Damoure Zeka’s claims in Jean Rouch and his Camera in the Heart of Africa, as well as Manthia Diawara’s meditation on the authorship of Moi un Noir (Rouch 1958) in his own film, Rouch in Reverse. Steven Ungar has also pointed out Oumarou Ganda’s collaboration in the authorship of Moi un Noir with special attention to Ganda’s own statements, and Cascabo (1969), a later film directed by Ganda.

13. This formulation resonates with the definition of minor literature in Deleuze and Guattari’s Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature.

14. In a passage on Godard, Deleuze writes, characters express themselves freely in the author’s discourse-vision, and the author, indirectly, in that of the characters(187).

15. Some of Rouch’s collaborators have asserted their role in the authorship of some of his films. Damoure Zeka makes many comments of this kind in Jean Rouch and his Camera in the Heart of Africa. This erasure is also noted by Manthia Diawara in Rouch in Reverse, where he argues that the New Wave originates not with Rouch but with his collaborators, and is thus is African in origin.

16. Dudley Andrew is one of the few scholars to attempt such an approach. See his Nomadic Cinemain The Brain is the Screen: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Cinema, ed. Gregory Flaxman. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000.

17. In addition to Agamben’s writing on the importance of Deleuze’s interest in the concept of life,Galin Tihanov has pointed out important connections between Volosinov and Lebensphilophie in his Volosinov, Ideology, and Language: The Birth of Marxist Sociology from the Spirit of Lebensphilophie.’

18. I am indebted to Joshua Clover for this observation.

Notes on Comizi d’amore for possible paragraph in Trilogia Della Vita chapter in Cinema And The Meaning [strikethrough] Of “Life”

Pasolini had already begun to historicize sexuality through cinematic means in Comizi d’amore (1963,) a film of interviews with Italians from various classes and regions about erotic mores. If a genealogy seeks to mobilize values by historicizing them, thereby dispelling the glamor of seemingly natural self-evidence, the genealogist must identify the values in order to put into in question. Comizi d’amore establishes the values that dominate the sex lives of Italians in 1963 by considering the silences of Pasolini’s interview subjects as well as their answers.

Pasolini’s decision to interview people grouped according to class and region allows him to begin denaturalizing the values pertaining to sexuality in the very act of documenting them. The values expressed by the interviewees vary with the region and class of the subjects and cannot appear as self-evident universals to the audience of Comizi d’amore. The film’s ethnographic categories make it clear that social relations determine values related to sex. Sexual mores appear as the effects of economics and physical surroundings, not for example, as the commandments of a god. Pasolini emphasizes differences based on income and location can be found throughout the film, though they might be clearest for some audiences in a segment which contrasts responses to the Legge Merlin, a 1958 law that made bordellos illegal, among Neapolitans and Sicilians.

Pasolini’s presentation of sexual values as a series of antagonisms reflects his understanding of ideology in general as the result of class conflict and his long standing commitment to regionalism.  Comizi d’amore articulates tensions, making the existence of an “Italian people” seem dubious. Audiences should hear a complex irony in Pasolini’s voice when, near the end of the film Pasolini, asks Alberto Moravia whether the novelist thinks he had captured the “real Italy.” Any notion of the real Italy dissolves in the variation between the values, the differences among the settings for the interviews, as well as the audible distinctions among regional dialects and accents. The film could serve as an illustration of Gilles Deleuze’s by now cliché  formulation “the people are missing.” If one were to continue to understand Comizi d’amore through the lens of Deleuze’s Cinema II: The Time Image, the film might even be said to call an Italian people into being through the more or less falsifying fabulations of the interview subjects. More plainly, a collective image of Italians emerges only from the contradictions among the all of the responses harvested by Pasolini.

When Pasolini asks Moravia whether Comizi d’amore captures the real Italy, Moravia responds that only bourgeoisie remained silent out of fear that of the possible social damage incurred by their answers. The capitalist class resists genealogical procedures because their ideology and habitus rely on the naturalization of values and the practices they justify. An obvious seeming national and linguistic unity linked to a coherent system of sexual values support the economic interests of the bourgeoisie.

Another silence structures the film in addition to the capitalist class’s: when Pasolini inquires about attitudes towards homosexuality, no one says, “I’m gay.” That silence unifies Italians more strongly than anything else in the film. Regional dialects, class and attendant differences in attitudes about sex divide the Italians Pasolini encounters, but not a single one professes queerness. In a film signed by a gay man who lived as openly as possible, that form of national unity can only be understood takes on a strong critical power.  Although Pasolini himself was out and his homosexuality was well known, he does not avow it in the film, probably in order to avoid conflict with his subjects and to encourage them to speak. Today, pathos saturates the film when we listen to the interview subjects moralize about homosexuality in response to Pasolini’s questions and realize that the interviewer has no voice in his own film and cannot be included in “the real Italy” except at the price of his silence. The section on homosexuality bares the title “”Disgust or Pity,” indicating the two poles of Italian response to gays.  If Comizi  d’amore calls an Italian people into being, it is a homophobic one.

The poles of disgust and pity are not those of the Trilogia Della Vita (1971-1974), in which various forms of homosexuality are practiced more or less openly. Even if such practices are judged by characters or religious systems within the films, the narrative agency of the Trilogia does not judge them.

Between Comizi D’amore and the Trilogia Della Vita Pasolini passes from contemporaneous to historical sexualities. Comizi d’amore  investigates sexualities, or attitudes towards sexualities which were actual in Pasolini’s lifetime. The Trilogia imagined past sexualities as potentials for the present. The Trilogia adapts three texts from pre-capitalist periods, seeking an alternative to commodified sexuality. This does not mean that Pasolini considered pre-capitalist sexualities to not involve economic exchange, but that it participated in a different form of economic exchange.

At the time when he shot the Trilogia,  the aim of Pasolini’s genealogical method was to understand the past as a means for changing the present as well as a means of explaining the present.

 Pasolini only used the technique of the potentialized past for a short period. In the mid 1970s, around the time of the neoliberalism’s onset, an “anthropological mutation” occurred. He came to believe that if sexuality has become intolerably degraded in the present it must have already been capable of such degradation in the past. The genetic tendency toward what Pasolini would call “racism,” “anthropological mutation” and “anthropological genocide” can already be found in the films of the early 1960s, especially Comizi D’amore and Mama Roma.