Pasolini’s “La forma della città” and the National Plan for Recovery and Resilience (PNRR)

One of the best-known films about speculative building and soil sealing is without doubt Francesco Rosi’s “Le mani sulla città” (1963). Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1974 documentary “La forma della città” is equally revealing, and perhaps more “educational”, dealing as it does with the same subject but through a more profound analysis.

The film focuses on two Italian towns, Orte and Sabaudia, but also touches on landscape disruptions in Yazd in Iran, Al Mukalla and Sana’a in Yemen, and Bhatgaon in Nepal.

Pasolini says in the documentary: “So those houses I told you about earlier, those tower blocks, what are they disrupting? They are disrupting above all the relationship between the form of the city and nature. You know, the problem of the form of the city and the problem of protecting the nature that surrounds the city are one and the same problem“.

When he says this he is looking at the medieval town of Orte, and the buildings that disrupt its profile, calling it “development without progress”. Then he compares the form of Orte with that of Sabaudia, a new town built by the fascist government in 1934, which he describes as “enchanting“, stressing that “it is the reality of provincial, rustic, paleoindustrial Italy, that produced Sabaudia, not fascism“… an Italy that fascism could not “scar“, a proof in itself of fascism’s failure.

But what fascism could not do, the “democratic government” has succeeded in doing, and especially the so-called consumer society.

«Now, however, the opposite happens. The government is a democratic one, etcetera, etcetera, but that integration, that homogenization that fascism utterly failed to achieve, has been perfectly achieved by the power of today, that is the power of consumer society. […] The real fascism is precisely this power of the consumer society that is destroying Italy, and this has happened so quickly that we haven’t even noticed, it has happened over the past 5, 6,7, 10 years … it has been a kind of nightmare, in which we have seen Italy destroyed around us, disappear. Now, awaking perhaps from this nightmare and looking around us, we realize that there’s nothing we can do».

Why are we referring to Pasolini’s documentary?

Because it would be good if the people drawing up the PNRR – National Recovery and Resilience Plan, watched this documentary. We feel sure that, more than 1000 reports or dozens of petitions, it would make them reflect on what they have written and maybe, just maybe this is our hope, at least  some of them might feel ashamed.

La Forma della Città: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNLqSG4NkTg (Available with English subtitles)