(out of series) Appunti per un film sull’India (Lindley 321, Film Authors)

In Appunti per un film sull’India, the short treatment Pasolini develops together with various Indians he interviews teaches us about the free-indirect in the cinema of poetry. In the voice over, he tells us that the first part of the possible film, in which a maharaja lets himself be eaten by a hungry tiger, figures Indian “prehistory.” The second part, in which the maharaja’s family falls upon hard times and wanders on the subcontinent until they die, figures Indian modernity, emphasizing industrialization and under production. In Appunti, Pasolini lets Indian writers finish the story for him, exemplifying the sort of free-indirect Gilles Deleuze calls “fabulation,” by which he means passing the narrative agency to someone else. The first part of the planned movie articulates a pre-textual free-indirect image of the country through the use of the narrative from a folktale. The ancient tale of the compassionate man who lets himself become tiger food comes from a variety of religious sources. Pasolini planned to use it both as material for an adaptation and as a trace of material culture. Other such traces appear in the Appunti, for example the religious images Pasolini refers to in a passage about potential casting decisions and the palaces in the passage about location scouting. The tale, the paintings, and the icons aren’t merely material for the film’s images, but as perceptual figures that give rise to a historical mode of subject production. Had the film been made, the characters as well as the audience would have perceived those elements and they would have determined the impersonal form of their subjectivity. Starting with Il vangelo secondo Matteo, many Pasolini films have recourse to this institutional mode of the free indirect that uses expressive productions to focalize through a collective, historically specific, visual or auditory memory. Doubtless, something similar would have structured the second part, but Pasolini would have had recourse to the material culture of the international subproletariat, which he understood as a world-wide class. In a sense both parts of the unrealized film can be understood as examples of “kino-mouth:” the pre-historical section eats from the tiger’s hunger, while the modern section starves with the wretched of the earth.

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