La Ricotta (“Curd Cheese”) is a short film written and directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini in 1962 and is part of the omnibus film RoGoPaG (AKA Ro.Go.Pa.G.). It is often considered the most memorable portion of RoGoPaG and the height of Pasolini’s creative powers and social criticism.
In summary, the film deals with the film production of the Passion of Jesus with a director acting like Pasolini yet played by Orson Welles. The most biting social critique is shown through the main character of Stracci (meaning “rags”). Stracci is a poor and starving man who works as an extra (ironically, the “good thief”) who is not given pity or mercy. Stracci tries everything to get something to eat and he finally does. Unfortunately the ricotta cheese he avidly gorges on, combined with the awkward position he’s forced to assume while being “crucified” in front of the camera prove a fatal combination and he dies from indigestion. Stracci represents the poor and the marginalized people, “the ones who hunger for bread” who, according to Pasolini, are neglected by a society, which prides itself on being Christian. Thus, in this view, the Roman Catholicism of Italy is more concerned with status and prominence than helping the poor, a teaching of Christ that Pasolini admired greatly. —Wikipedia
Born in Bologna in 1922, Pier Paolo Pasolini left behind a searing legacy that haunts contemporary Italy more than thirty years after his death. More than anyone, Pasolini gazed deeply into Italy’s role in the spread of Fascism and, more controversially, the continuing influence of its ideas in post-war Europe. For him, this was a matter of great personal significance; his father was a soldier in the Fascist Army (he had once protected Mussolini from an assassination attempt) while his brother joined the resistance only to be murdered in an ambush. This personal trauma coincided with a period of intellectual development as Pasolini engaged with Marxist philosophy; especially the works of Antonio Gramsci, the founder of Italy’s Communist Party (PCI). His relationship with the PCI, however, was tense. As a poet and intellectual, Pasolini scrutinized his fellow Communists as critically as he did bourgeois society. His enemies retaliated by targeting his personal life; the first instance… read more
"Io, per me, sono anticlericale (non ho mica paura a dirlo!), ma so che in me ci sono duemila anni di cristianesimo: io coi miei avi ho costruito le chiese romaniche, e poi le chiese gotiche, e poi le chiese barocche: esse sono il mio patrimonio, nel contenuto e nello stile. Sarei folle se negassi tale forza potente che è in me: se lasciassi ai preti il monopolio del Bene". PPP
I can't think of another film that offers a more compelling introduction to this great filmmaker that can summarize both his genius and razor sharp eloquence any better than this short does. Formidable and masterful in its own cheeky way, and Orson Welles takes it up to a whole new level of awesome.