RoGoPaG (aka Laviamoci il cervello, Lets Wash our Brains) 1963 – Released on Bluray 27th August

Directed by: , , ,
Written by: , , ,
Starring: , , ,


Running Time: 122 mins

Certification : PG

Reviewer: David Gillespie – Official HCF Artist

RoGoPaG is an experimental drama/comedy examining the social anxieties and pressures revolving around relationships, war, religion, urbanisation and consumerism.  Four directors, Roberto Rossellini, Jean-Luc Godard, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Ugo Gregorreti are given the opportunity to flex their directorial skills on thirty minute slots with mixed results as is the norm for anthologies.

Rossellini’s effort, Chastidy (Illibatezza) focuses on a beautiful air hostess called Anna Marie (Rosanna Schiaffino) and the unwanted attentions she encounters from a sleazy, American businessman called Joe (Bruce Balaban).  Most of the running time either involves Balaban forcing himself on Schiaffino like a dog on heat or the director tediously highlighting the many hot spots around the Bangkok area.  Of all the quartet of tales, this is the one that appears most uninvolving and dated.  I did wonder how quickly it would take for the moaning and drooling actions of Joe to get a swift knee to the tenders in this day in age followed by a summons to the courts for sexual harassment. There is also a rather uncomfortable scene where Anna Marie’s solicitor boyfriend and colleague explain how men cannot resist his ‘woman’ because of her purity. This results in the air hostess dying her hair blonde and becoming promiscuous and ultimately repelling Joe. Most scenes are irritating rather than amusing. The only factors of interest are Anna Marie’s strange obsession with cameras and the undoubted beauty of the actress.

Godard’s segment, The New World (Il Nuovo Mondo) fairs better than the first. It examines the post nuclear effects on a relationship of a young couple, Allexandra (Allexandra Stewart) and Jean-Marc (Jean-Marc Bory). After a nuclear catastrophe hits Paris, a husband notices the robotic behaviour (like the pod people in Invasion of the Body Snatchers) affecting the people around him, including his wife. He chronicles his findings in a notebook including the lack of emotional contact with his partner and the increase in the number of medicines and pills they possess. It has been mentioned in other reviews that this short resembles Godard’s later full-length feature, Alphaville. The New World is the most sombre and emotional of the tales. The lighting and performances are first rate.

RoGoPaG’s most infamous tale is the third, Curd Cheese (La Ricotta) created by Pasolini. Orson Welles plays a pretentious director exploiting the starving residents of a struggling Italian village to perform in his religious production in return for food. One particularly hungry thespian donates his food to his wife and children first. He then leaves the remaining food hidden in a cave when he is summoned for his scenes. When he finally gives in for his craving and indulges in a helping of La Ricotta and bread he dies from gastric pain while concluding his role upon the cross.

Pasolini’s short tale was met with so much controversy on its release that the director was taken to court and the segment was heavily cut in some of the more religious European countries. Apparently Portugal has more than half an hour cut from the running time.

The final of the short tales, Free Range Chicken (Il Pollo Ruspante) follows an ambitious family as they contemplate investing in real estate to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ while being heavily influenced by consumer trap strategies on a family outing. The family’s tale is partnered with an advertising psychology type seminar examining ways to alter the behaviour and impulsive mannerisms of the consumer.  The speaker presents from notes with a voice box. Although much of the observations on marketing gurus’ efforts to exploit consumer’s aspirations are relevant even up to present day, some of the imagery (i.e. the chickens at the restaurant) is ham-fisted and a little too obvious.

RoGoPaG is an interesting, dated and occasionally patchy comedy focussing on modern culture and social issues.  All chapters, apart from the disappointing and irritating first, keep the interest without over entertaining.  It is surprising that this project was considered controversial and offensive on its release as there is nothing on offer here that is likely to offend anyone now. RoGoPaG is worth a look in the newly restored Bluray package. 

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆


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About DAVID GILLESPIE 169 Articles
Fighting for clean bathrooms and restrooms since 1974.

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