17 Αυγούστου 2013

Αυγουστιάτικη προσφορά για διανοούμενους

(εναλλακτικός τίτλος, Τι θα γινόταν αν η Διβάνη ήταν ο Παζολίνι)

Subject for a film about a policeman

Everybody read about it without paying too much attention. About a month ago a policeman killed himself because the prisoner who had been placed in his charge escaped, so betraying the policeman's trust.

A friend of the policeman carried out an investigation on his own, in his free time, and after a long period of lying in wait he succeeded in capturing the escaped man. In this way the shade of the young man who had committed suicide was - at least in the sight of his friend - partly placated.

Elsewhere (Carriere della Sera, 18 July 1975) I have called this an episode of obedience. Obedience to a series of norms and therefore of values which define a culture that has now disappeared (almost totally, although only within the last few years). These norms and values are traditional. That is to say, they really belong to a popular universe which, by means of these values, had created a way of life which had continued to function for centuries. At the same time, however, such norms and values had been taken over by the men of power and had been alienated and reimposed by means of police repression of a clerico-fascist nature. (This was a case of an operation not lacking in coherence since even in the framework of the reality of popular life during its moment of autonomy, such norms and values were of a religious and paternalistic nature.)

Now, I repeat, these norms and values have collapsed because the culture that expressed them, and was expressed by them, has been destroyed. They remain 'crystallized' in the reactionary and surviving wing of clerico-fascist power. But in fact no one believes in them any more - neither the priests nor the generals. Their presence is still felt, however, potent and fascinating, a hang-over from the recent past whether as a positive popular spectre or as a horrendous clerico-fascist one. Among other things, we still believe that they govern our lives (our ideas about reality and our behaviour).

The policeman who committed suicide, Vincenzo Rizzi by name, still truly believed in them. He came from a poor and decent Southern family where he had assimilated those norms and values in their natural innocence and had then as a police cadet been educated in accordance with them. The police must naturally pretend that these norms and values are still normal currency. Otherwise how can they talk to their cadets?

So Vincenzo Rizzi was an 'obedient' boy. Something absolutely original in a world of 'disobedience': 'rhetorical disobedience' (the kind created and manipulated by the ruling power as a contradiction of itself and, above all, as a guarantee of modernity, which is absolutely essential for consumption) and 'real disobedience' (that of scattered groups of revolutionaries and of an enormous mass of criminals).

So I consider the word 'disobedience' to be discredited, while the word 'obedience' has to be reassessed. The story of the policeman, Vincenzo Rizzi, is therefore in my eyes a moving and exemplary story.

But can a man, a boy, maintain intact within himself and indeed almost crystallized, a 'culture', an entire system of values? When naturally, one is speaking of a culture in the anthropological sense of a system of values capable of determining one's way of life down to the last physical detail?

Can the whole world be 'mutated' and yet remain 'unmutated' inside one person or certain specific groups of persons (mostly policemen or soldiers who are precisely the only ones to preserve a certain ancient Italian grace)?

No, it is not possible. In what way then was the policeman, Vincenzo Rizzi, 'contaminated' by that 'false obedience', which is in reality the 'true obedience' to the rules of the new power?

The boy, Cosimo Marra, that is to say, the policeman who was Vincenzo Rizzi's friend and his avenger, when giving some interviews (not so far as I can discover to important papers, that is, papers belonging to the Palace, but to more lowly papers, which feed on news items according to a formula) was naturally reticent about the conduct of his friend. Either out of tact or diplomacy, he had not wished to interfere. Marra does not have the passionate and apprehensive innocence of Rizzi; there is in him a certain typically petty-bourgeois consciousness which tends to put him on the side of his superiors. It is not for nothing that he is preparing to be admitted to a course for noncommissioned officers. One might say that, for him, the prime value is that Order which is the only one in whose name a reactionary voice might be raised (given that God and the Family, etc, have collapsed and perhaps, so far as the popular world is concerned, Honour too). In Marra's face one can perceive - I write as a film-maker at least from the only photograph I have been able to see, that vague pallor and hostility which fatally deform the faces of those who consider themselves defenders of Order. But he is young, a boy, little more than an adolescent. His adventurous act as an avenger makes him appear stronger than he really is or is likely to be.

From his words there emerges quite indirectly- almost like snatches of a dream how Vincenzo Rizzi passed his last hours.

At this point apropos of these last hours - one cannot avoid an analysis of the prisoner (even if it too is dreamlike), the man who escaped and was recaptured. He does not belong to the new criminal community. He is one of the old community. He can certainly speak the old dialect, the forgotten jargon. Probably he is witty, not at all antipathetic, or violent, and he knows the old code of the underworld well - a code which incidentally is very like any other code of any popular culture.

I am also discussing this prisoner on the basis of a photograph, a single photograph. That is to say, he reveals himself to me by means of a somatic language, a language of physical presence, of connotations ...

On his basic structure, which is ancient not to say archaic the structure of a young man from the underworld - something new has been deposited like mud or excrement, something that belongs to the new underworld. His hair is sophisticated, full of sinister and vaguely indecent codes; in his eyes there is the mocking gleam of the well-heeled, together with a look that indicates an obsessive resolution (which in his archetypes was both madder and more noble). His dress follows fashion menacingly or perhaps by now it is natural to him the fashion of those younger than himself, who are aphasic and as wicked as vipers.

So Piero Merletti is a person from the pre-consumerist anthropological world in the process of degeneration. Just like, mutatis mutandis, the young avenger, Cosimo Marra - all this being deduced from photographs and the few real clues that peep out from between the lines of what they say. The escaped prisoner and the avenger friend, the two persons bound in brotherhood by the young man who committed suicide, are much nearer to us, much more real and recognizable.

It should be noted that until shortly before he killedhimself, Vincenzo Rizzi was no less a friend of Pietro Merletti than of Cosimo Marra. For the reasons I have already stated he found it possible to have an understanding with both of them: the fact that they all belonged to a popular culture (peasant and subproletariat) which had survived and which was pre-consumerist. The fact that Pietro Merletti, on the one hand, and Cosimo Marra, on the other, were partially 'contaminated' by the modern world perhaps constituted yet another reason for their fascination for the naive Vincenzo Rizzi.

Why in fact was Pietro Merletti able to trick him? For the same reason as Cosimo Marra was able to avenge him. That is to say, because of their knowledge of what is important in the preconsumerist world: honour, trust, friendship, homoeroticism, virility, dignity. In the name of all these Pietro Merletti was able to betray him and Cosimo Marra to avenge him.

So during Vincenzo Rizzi's last hours - as they appear in snatches in the words of Cosimo Marra - what played a determining role were the values in which Vincenzo Rizzi believed (honour, trust, friendship, homo-eroticism, virility, dignity), which Pietro Merletti knew and could therefore exploit.

Marra's words illuminate like a lightning flash a little meal consumed together by Vincenzo Rizzi and his prisoner in some trattoria or other in Centocelle, the very thought of which makes one's heart bleed. That spaghetti, that drop of bad wine, must have appeared in the last moments of Vincenzo Rizzi's life as an intolerable surrender to the base instincts, a criminal orgy.

But it is not only the values I have mentioned above that determine the realtionship between policeman and prisoner - there is also sex. So enter a new character, a woman called Calicchia. If I am not mistaken she was the proprietress of the miserable trattoria in Centocelle of which I have spoken. Of her I know nothing. I do not even have her photograph in front of me. To imagine her I have to invent her totally. And our imagination is always conventional. But it doesn't matter: Calicchia's role is symbolic and ideological. And that implies a certain conventional abstraction. In fact she is not a woman as she would be in a ncorealist film and therefore in the reality that the neo-realist films mirror but the woman. I presume incidentally that she, as well as her friend, Pietro Merletti, is a character from the preconsumerist culture who is in the process of adapting and therefore of degenerating - degenerating by imitating girls younger than herself.

The preconsumerist society needed strong and therefore chaste men. The consumerist society on the other hand needs weak and therefore lecherous men. The myth of the woman shut away and alone (whose obligation of chastity implied the chastity of the man) has been replaced by the myth of the woman accessible and at hand, always available. The triumph of friendship between men and the erection has been replaced by the triumph of the couple and impotence. Young males are traumatized by the duty permissiveness imposes on them - that is to say, the duty always and freely to make love. At the same time they are traumatized by the disappointment which their 'sceptre' has produced in women who formerly either were unfamiliar with it or made it the subject of myths while accepting it supinely. Besides, the education for, and initiation into, society which formerly took place in a platonically homosexual ambiance is now because of precocious couplings heterosexual from the onset of pubeny. But the woman is still not in a position given the legacy of thousands of years - to make a free pedagogic contribution; she still tends to favour codification. And this today can only be a codification more conformist than ever, as is desired by bourgeois power, whereas the old self-education, between men and men or between women and women, obeyed popular rules (whose sublime archetype remains Athenian democracy). Consumerism has therefore finally humiliated the woman by creating for her an intimidating myth. The young males who walk along the street laying a hand on the woman's shoulder with a protective air, or romantically clasping her hand, either make one laugh or cause a pang. Nothing is more insincere than the relationship to which that consumerist couple gives concrete expression.

Ten years ago, if in order to escape, the prisoner, Pietro Merletti, had suggested to his guard, Vincenzo Rizzi, the need to pass a couple of hours with his woman, Vincenzo Rizzi would have considered such a necessity to be quite unreal (indeed, to tell the truth, such a request would not even have entered the mind of either prisoner or guard). Chastity was part of man's destiny. Woman was a dream and dreams wait or are waited for. Coitus would come in due time.

Today, on the other hand, by demonstrating the need to make love hie et nunc with his woman the prisoner was able to make an immediate breach in the heart of his friend the guard. He blackmailed him with a myth of the age of consumerism. He overpowered him with a display of terrorism to which the innocent Vincenzo Rizzi surrendered with all his heart, because in his ancient culture woman was truly a myth and he could not know that in the culture of the consumerist world this myth comes true in a false and cynical way; it is brutal conformism and not freedom. Seeing no gap between the two cultures, Vincenzo Rizzi thought that the attainment of a dream so difficult to attain in his old culture was miraculously easy to attain in the culture of the modern world. So instead of being Calicchia, a woman (who is waiting for her friend to serve his time in prison) but woman (who must be there ready and available in accordance with a collective decision) consumerism by one of its untransgressible rules caused the collapse of all the rules of a system of values, even if repressive, under which Vincenzo Rizzi lived so innocently and with such grace.

Naturally if I were to make a film about all this it would inevitably be a film that ended with the recommendation of a gold medal for the 'obedient' hero, Vincenzo Rizzi. On this point I would have no hesitation. In 1945 and again in 1965 there were a thousand reasons in the name of which a young man felt it his duty to die; it was therefore easier for him to do so. That a young man did so today is almost incredible. While we wait for a 'new obedience' it seems to me to be just to be moved by and to admire the 'form' of obedience.

Il Mondo 7 August 1975

3 σχόλια:

silezukuk είπε...

...ή "Τι θα γινόταν αν οι κριτικοί της Διβάνη ήταν ο Παζολίνι."

Υποψιάζομαι ότι ο "προκαταναλωτικός κόσμος", στις αξίες του οποίου αναφέρεται, είναι αποκύημα της φαντασίας του. Κάτι σαν την Πραγματική Δημοκρατία την εποχή του Περικλή. Αλλά δεν είναι αυτό το θέμα. Το φιλμ που θα γύριζε θα ήταν καλό.

Manchurian είπε...

Σε μια ξιφομαχία με τον Ίταλο Καλβίνο εξηγεί σε τι αναφέρεται, τα πλάγια είναι δικά του (αυτό που αντιμετωπίζω με δυσπιστία δεν είναι τόσο η ύπαρξη της Εδέμ όσο η αναγκαιότητα ενός διαφθορέα για την έξοδο από αυτήν, ποιος δεν θέλει ένα ηλεκτρικό ψυγείο;)

Οι άνθρωποι αυτού του [προεθνικού, προβιομηχανικού] κόσμου δεν ζούσαν ένα χρυσούν αιώνα, και μόνον τυπικά συνδέονταν με την Ιταλία. Ζούσανε αυτό που ο Chilanti ονόμασε, εποχή του ψωμιού. Ήταν δηλαδή καταναλωτές των απολύτως απαραίτητων αγαθών. Και αυτό έκανε απολύτως απαραίτητη τη φτωχή και πρόσκαιρη ζωή τους. Ενώ είναι καθαρό, ότι τα περιττά αγαθά κάνουν περιττή τη ζωή (αυτό για να είμαστε απλοί και να καταλήξουμε μ' αυό το επιχείρημα).

Το αν θρηνώ ή δεν θρηνώ αυτόν τον κόσμο της υπαίθρου, παραμένει υπόθεση δική μου. Αυτό δεν μ' εμποδίζει ν' ασκώ στο σημερινό κόσμο όπως αυτός είναι την κριτική μου: και μάλιστα με μεγαλύτερη διαύγεια όσο πιο πολύ απέχω, και όσο δέχομαι στωικά μόνο να τον ζήσω.

[...]

Θα πεις: οι άνθρωποι υπήρξαν πάντα κομφορμιστές (όλοι όμοιοι ο ένας με τον άλλο) και υπήρξαν πάντα ελίτ. Σου απαντώ: ναι, οι άνθρωποι υπήρξαν πάντα κομφορμιστές, και το πιο πιθανό όμοιοι ο ένας με τον άλλο αλλά ανάλογα με την κοινωνική τους τάξη. Και, μέσα σε μια τέτοια ταξική διάκριση, ανάλογα με τις ιδιαίτερες και συγκεκριμένες πολιτιστικές συνθήκες (τοπικές). Αντίθετα, σήμερα (και εδώ αποτυγχάνει η ανθρωπολογική «αλλαγή») οι άνθρωποι είναι κομφορμιστές και όλοι όμοιοι ο ένας με τον άλλο σύμφωνα με ένα αταξικό κώδικα (φοιτητής όμοιος με εργάτη, εργάτης του Βορρά όμοιος με εργάτη του Νότου): τουλάχιστο δυναμικά μεσ' την αγχώδη θέληση να γίνουν όμοιοι.

Ανώνυμος είπε...

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