Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Libidinous Attention

Adam Thirlwell explores how Pier Paolo Pasolini's work as a filmmaker was driven by his poetry:
Everything he did, he did as a poet. He once argued that “the cinema is substantially and naturally poetic,” and then explained himself with typical bravura: “A cinema sequence and a sequence of a memory or of a dream—and not only that but things in themselves—are profoundly poetic: a tree photographed is poetic, a human face photographed is poetic because physicity is poetic in itself . . . because even a tree is a sign of a linguistic system. But who talks through a tree? God, or reality itself.” An object, like a poem, is just a way for reality to express itself. That was Pasolini’s strange vision, and it allowed him not only his radical politics but also the detail of his thinking, the way the camera in Accattone so often pauses on his characters’ faces, in close-up, as if they’re removed from some Renaissance fresco. He once said that the minimal cinematic unit wasn’t in fact the shot but the objects inside a shot. And in his best poetry, the minimal unit isn’t the line so much as all the details contained in that line—the small utopian freedoms of his libidinous attention.

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