Stupendous, Miserable City: Pasolini's Rome

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John David Rhodes places the city of Rome at the center of this original and in-depth examination of the work of Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini-but it's not the classical Rome you imagine. Stupendous, Miserable City situates Pasolini within the history of twentieth-century Roman urban development. The book focuses first on the Fascist period, when populations were moved into public housing on the periphery of the city, called the borgate, and then turns to the progressive social housing experiments of the 1950s. These environments were the settings of most of Pasolini's films of the early to mid-1960s.

Discussing films such as Accattone, Mamma Roma, and The Hawks and the Sparrows, Rhodes shows how Pasolini used the borgate to critique Roman urban planning and neorealism and to draw attention to the contemptuous treatment of Rome's poor. Carefully tracing Pasolini's surprising engagement with this part of Rome and looking beyond his films to explore the interrelatedness of all of Pasolini's artistic output in the 1950s and 1960s-including his poetry, fiction, and journalism-Rhodes opens up completely new ways of understanding Pasolini's work and proves how connected Pasolini was to the political and social upheavals in Italy at the time.

About the Author:
John David Rhodes is lecturer in literature and visual culture at the University of Sussex

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“In this remarkable book, John David Rhodes makes an invaluable contribution to scholarship on cinema and the city. Analyzing Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Rome films and his political and emotional engagement with the city, Rhodes has provided a fascinating and moving background to this period of Pasolini’s life, vision, and politics.” —Laura Mulvey

“John David Rhodes portrays the social and aesthetic complexities of this world with the élan and precision of George Eliot. His outline history of Roman urbanism suggests voracious reading and many a walk through. Rhodes’ writing constantly surprises. This is an insightful, engrossing book about art, urbanism and consciousness that changes the way we think about Pasolini’s early career.” —Sight & Sound

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816649297
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
  • Publication date: 3/22/2007
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: This Cinema, This City     ix
A Short History of the Roman Periphery     1
"Rome, Ringed by Its Hell of Suburbs"     17
"Scandalous Desecration": Accattone against the Neorealist City     40
Pasolini, the Peripheral Sublime, and Public Housing     75
Mamma Roma and Pasolini's Oedipal (Housing) Complex     110
Conclusion: The Allegorical Autostrada     136
Acknowledgments     155
Notes     157
Index     189
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