Pier Paolo Pasolini
I 1970
73 min

In <![CDATA[<i>]]>Appunti per un’ Orestiade africana (Notes for an African Oresteia)<![CDATA[</i>]]>, Pasolini explores the many analogies between the Athens of Aeschylus’ time and the post-colonial situation of Africa in the late sixties. His camera documents the life and landscape of central Africa as he “auditions” the continent for a non-professional cast and location for his production. (The actual film was never made, and was probably never meant to be made.) From these visual notes, accompanied by the director’s own running commentary and translations of Aeschylus and interviews with African university students, come some brilliant observations, true not only to the myth, but also to the meaning of Aeschylus’ work. Agamemnon is tentatively cast as a proud, but frail, Masai warrior; Clytemnestra as an imposing medicine woman from Uganda; Orestes as a European-clad university student from Tanzania; the Erinyes as a wounded lioness from the bush. Chorus members are drawn from the ranks of the many farmers, tailors, beggars, and craftsmen that populate the open-air markets of African towns. None of this is sentimental, however. None of it romanticizes African “primitivism.” (To convey the Oresteia’s apocalyptic vision of the prophetess Cassandra, for instance, Pasolini splices in graphic footage of the brutal, “Western-style” Biafran Wars.) Rather, Pasolini seeks to universalize the significance of the Oresteia for the human condition, and to underscore the political and economic complexities and contradictions of nationhood in the language of myth. Aeschylus’ maxim páthei máthos, “learning through suffering,” is an abiding theme. Aeschylus’ trilogy also focuses on such issues as authority in the family and justice in society, and marks an historical transition in ancient Attica from tribal organization and the summary justice of blood-feud to the rule of law in a democratic city-state, both of which, as Pasolini intimates, are issues of great urgency still for African nations today.

Will be screened together with <filmlink id=\"2552\">Chef!</filmlink>.

I Film Dell&#039;Orso, IDI Cinematografica, Radiotelevisione Italiana, Gian Vittorio Baldi
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