Bertolucci


I more anti-Oedipus then pro-Oedipus, but I do love speculation.

Following up on my earlier post about Pasolini’s unacknowledged influence on Bertolucci’s The Conformist— I came across this Pasolini comment on his influence on Bertolucci:

“I think more then being influenced by me, he reacted against me. I was rather like a father to him, and so he reacted against me…Maybe I gave him something indefinable, but he was always able to tell the authentic from the inauthentic. I always had a very general influence on him, and as regards his style he is completely different from me. His real master is Godard.”

This new information indicates that because 1) Bertolucci is extremely Oedipul and 2) Pasolini’s influence on Bertolucci was general and not the stylistic influence of Godard he jettisoned in The Conformist,  perhaps there is some substance to my speculation that Pasolini is the only father Bertolucci did not kill in The Conformist.

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Today it struck me that Pasolini’s definition of conformity is a concise summary of how I remember Marcello, the conformist in Bertolucci’s Il Conformista.

Today’s Guardian has an interview with Bertolucci about the film. He has this to say about it:

“The conformist understands that the reason of his desperate look for conformism is that he realises he is different and that he never accepted his difference. In that last scene, he understands why he became a fascist – even the worst fascist of all – because he wanted to hide and forget what he feels are his differences in his deep, deep consciousness. It’s like realising that even fascists have a sub-consciousness.”

With the Freudian influence the movie has, you could then say the conformist’s repression of his difference articulates Pasolini’s point;

You could say it [conformism] is the decadence of integration into society. The average man is proud of being what he is and wants everyone else to be the same. He is reductive; he doesn’t believe in passion and sincerity, he doesn’t believe in people revealing themselves and confessing because the average man is not supposed to do these things. But the other characteristic, equal and opposite, is that this consciousness is not a class consciousness, it’s a moralistic, not a political consciousness.

Yet, Pasolini only makes a brief appearance in the Bertolucci interview, where it is mentioned that they were friends and that Bertolucci worked for Pasolini. Instead, the majority of the article focuses on Bertolucci’s Freudian theory that his work was an attempt to kill both his biological father; Attilo Bertoluci, and his cinematic father; Jean-Luc Godard.

In Godard’s case this is played out in his rejection of Il Conformista with the note he gave Bertolucci that read; ‘You have to fight against individualism and capitalism.’ Bertolucci attributes this break to the oblique fact that “I had finished the period in which to be able to communicate would be considered a mortal sin. He had not.”

The unclear meaning of this leaves room for speculating that Pasolini’s influence is unacknowledged. For in contrast to Godard, Pasolini’s conception of capitalist conformity is that it eradicates individuality and communication, and in doing so stymies political consciousness for morality.  Does this make Pasolini the father Bertolucci’s hasn’t killed? or is his just a massive unacknowledged influence? What i know of Bertolucci’s later works would seem to confirm both. Further, does Bertolucci’s reductive Freudian interpretation wreak of another type of conformism that evacuates broader social, cultural or historical influences?