The Dialectic of Folk Music and Bourgeois Ideology in Pasolini’s Films
Writer and director, Pasolini was one of the most controversial Italian artists and intellectuals of the post-war period. He ascribed great significance to folk culture, which he considered the repository of anti-capitalist values; for this reason, there is a wealth of folk tunes in his films’ soundtracks. My research reflects on what image of the folk emerges from the employment of folk music in Pasolini’s features. Is it possible to pinpoint some fractures between the values intentionally attached to folk music by the author – notably, its subversive power against the dominant culture – and the actual ways in which he represented it? If a problematic dialectic between folk music and capitalist culture emerges in Pasolini – as I think it does –, how does this relate to the broader ambiguous attitudes towards folk music in 1960s-1970s Italy (read: the birth of Italian ethnomusicology, the Folk Music Revival, the Italian ethnographic documentary etc.)? By unpacking these issues, I aim to offer a new critical perspective on an important portion of the post-war Italian culture, and more broadly, to provide a long overdue starting point for building bridges between ethnomusicology and film music studies.