With which one shares the century

[The paper flower sequence, 1969]…is very simple: it consists of several long, dollying sequnce shots of Ninetto Davoli walking down the Via Nazionale on a summer’s day, a large red paper flower in his hand…However, Pasolini makes this footage strange by using the optical printer to overlay the long take of Ninetto with newsreel images that testify to the horrors of the twentieth century. It’s an exercise in montage…Toward the end a voice intones: “Innocence is guilt” repeatedly, following a long discourse on the subject of innocence and ignorance. The film is probably the closest Pasolini ever came to making an avant-garde film […]

The film figures as kind of return and/or farewell to Rome…The location of Via Nazionale is particularly apposite, given that it was, in Manfredo Tafuri’s terms, “the first street of modern Rome” — a major thoroughfare that, in its late nineteenth-century attempt to graft onto Rome a half-digested urban modernity, inaugurated the misuse of Roman urban space…The film seems to suggest that now it is not so much the case that all roads lead to Rome, as Rome being the place from which the road to political engagement must leave, must depart

– John David Rhodes. Stupendous, Miserable City: Pasolini’s Rome. University of Minnesota Press, 2007

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