Rosanna Schiaffino, Bruce Balaban, Jean-Marc Bory, Alexandra Stewart, Mario Cipriani, Orson Welles, Ugo Tognazzi, Lisa Gastoni, Carlo Zappavigna, Laura Betti, Vittorio La Paglia, Gianrico Tedeschi, Maria Bernardini, Ettore Garofalo, Tomas Milian
CHAPTERS WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Roberto Rossellini, Jean-Luc Godard, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Ugo Gregoretti
Eureka Entertainment (Blu-Ray)
Gorgeous new HD restoration of the film in its original aspect ratio;
• Newly translated optional English subtitles
• Original Italian theatrical trailer
• 56-PAGE BOOKLET featuring new essays by Tag Gallagher, Arthur Mas, Martial Pisani, and Pasquale Iannone; a new translation by Tag Gallagher of excerpts from an oral history about the film; and rare archival imagery
"Rogopag" Released on Blu-Ray With Eureka Entertainment
Another "Masters of Cinema" release from London-based Eureka Entertainment, Rogopag is a 1963 cinematic collection of four short films from directors Roberto Rossellini, Jean-Luc Godard, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Ugo Gregoretti, the latter likely being the least known of the four filmmakers.
The four films, a definite mixed bag, include:
Illibatezza (Virginity) by Rossellini follows an airline stewardess plagued by an obsessed American tourist.
Godard's Il Nuovo Mondo (The New World) takes place in an Italian-dubbed Paris beset by nuclear fallout. The film follows the changes that occur, in particular, for one young couple.
La Ricotta (Curded Cheese) by Pasolini actually resulted in a four-month suspended prison sentence for the filmmaker. The film centers around a film being made of the Crucifixion, with Orson Welles playing up front in a central role.
Finally, Gregoretti's Il pollo ruspante follows a middle class Milan family flirting with the purchase of real estate and dealing catastrophically with consumerism.
In 1963, such multi-filmmaker efforts were relatively common, a practice that still occurs on occasion but is relatively uncommon and certainly not well marketed. Rossellini's entry is the weakest link here, a rather sparse effort that is surprisingly light for Rossellini. Those familiar with Rossellini's work may marvel at the film's lightness, though it's likely you'll also prefer his more dramatic fare.
Jean-Marc Bory and Alexandra Stewart star in Godard's effort, a more serious one than Rossellini's and more consistent with Godard's history as a filmmaker. The film at times takes on more of a documentary feeling, with headlines grabbed straight out of the Cold War era and a simple yet increasingly strained relationship that develops between the two leads.
Pasolini's contribution is unquestionably my favorite of the four here, with the director able to weave together satire, drama, social commentary and an impactful Orson Welles into a film that stays with you long after the film has ended. The film features some beautiful pastels, a remarkable symbolism given the otherwise black-and-white cinematic effort. Pasolini's effort is also surprisingly direct for one of his films, which are typically a tad more subtle.
Gregoretti's contribution is also a tad slight, especially compared to the works of Godard and Pasolini, though I do personally prefer it to Rossellini's effort, though that could be as much out of disappointment from expecting more with Rossellini. That said, as the film that actually closes out this collection, I found myself wishing that I had been able to have Pasolini's film as my lasting impression rather than this relatively safe, timid effort.
Fans of these filmmakers, regardless of which would be your favorite, will unquestionably be happy with the blu-ray release by Eureka Entertainment. For more information, visit the link listed in the credits.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic