Allegory
in Film modernism
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A series of likenesses are posed in the film between unlike things: the delinquent, confused, miserable Ettore, child of the borgate and Christ the Saviour; the whore, Mamma Roma, and the mother of Christ; the present of Italy and the past of Italy (the Renaissance) and further back a classical past at the time of Christ; a film image and a painting; low culture and high culture; the profane and the sacred. The pattern of placing one type of text (painting, literary, musical) against one from another time is familiar in Pasolini’s films. The films, taken as a whole are extended allegories in which a narrative and all it includes of objects, gestures and actions is equated with meanings outside the narrative.

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