La ricotta (Cheese Curd)

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Date: 1963 1964

Region: Europe

Subject: Religious

Medium: Film Video


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Artist: Pierpaolo Pasolini (1922 - 1975)

Confronting Bodies: Italian Commission on film censorship

Dates of Action: March 1, 1963; 1964

Location: Italy

Description of Artwork: La ricotta, one of the four episodes of the movie RoGoPaG, narrates the story of Stracci, a Roman proletarian that works as an extra in a movie where the crucifixion of Christ is represented. Stracci dies on the cross at the end of the movie. The director in La ricotta is played by Orson Welles. The other episodes were directed by Jean-Luc Godard, Ugo Gregoretti and Roberto Rossellini and were not affected by censorship. The title RoGoPaG is an abbreviation of the authors' last names: Rossellini, Godard, Pasolini, Gregoretti.

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The Incident: The movie was taken out of distribution and accused of "offense to the State religion." It was the first time that a movie was accused not of "offense to the audience", but to the religion. In this way, I feel, the State substituted the Church in the defense of public morals.

Results of Incident: Pasolini was condemned to 4 months of jail but was exonerated one year later on appeal. Nevertheless, to go back into distribution, the movie was cut. The title was changed to Laviamoei il cervello (Laviamoei the brain), and some dialogue was changed. In November 1964, the movie was put back into distribution with the changes.

Source: Caterina Borelli, (from the book, I Film De Pierpaolo Pasolini, published by Gremese, written by Luciano De Giusti, second edition, 1985 )