Carlo’s Vision is a 16mm film based on an episode in the unfinished novel Petrolio by Pier Paolo Pasolini . The episode which inspired Rosalind Nashashibi’s film describes the vision experienced by Carlo, the protagonist of Petrolio . Rather than filming the vision exactly as it is described in the novel, she has taken the protagonists, the props and the location, imported them into the present day and used them as the departure point for her film, thus using a template from the early seventies and employing it in exactly the same location in 2011. The result, Carlo’s Vision, is a mixture of observational documentary and fiction – in which Carlo is pulled along Rome’s Via Torpignattara on a director’s dolly, observing the long march of a young man, The Shit, and his fiancée Cinzia . Carlo is towed backwards by three gods, two speaking and one silent; with his back to them he can hear what they are thinking, their interior monologues . The two prophetic figures provide an interpretation of what Carlo is witnessing, commenting on the past and present governance of Rome, and focusing on class and sexuality as manipulated today by Italy’s power structures.
Filmed on Rome’s Via Torpignattara in summer 2011, the vision experienced by Carlo is differentiated from reality by the use of colour . The shift between reality and vision passes through Carlo’s gaze. When looking through his eyes, we see fragments of bodies, hairstyles, clothing, and sexual parts, which are first suffused in a bright red light, turning to orange, yellow and finally vivid green as he proceeds along the blocks of the street. When the point of view goes back to the procession and the reactions to it from the outside, we return to natural colours with a more steady and objective gaze. Through these techniques, simultaneous layers of reality are described, and the magical friction of the film lies in the borders where simultaneous realities meet. The mythological style procession is dropped right down into a very ordinary day in the surburbs , whose population observes, participates and claims its existence out loud. The gods were selected as Geni Locii , cultural commentators who could bring some authority to their proclamations on the people and culture of the new suburbs, the city and the country. Andrea Cortelessa is a literary critic and literature historian and Daniele Balicco is a critic, a journalist and a scholar of mass media. The interior monologues of the gods are the edited result of the one and a half hours conversation, mediated by the artist and the curators, on Balicco’s and Cortellessa’s experience on the street and thoughts arising from the procession. Nashashibi has selected extracts of this dialogue to create a dialectic of isolated voices: one god is focused on matters of governance and state conspiracy, while the other muses on the uses of sexuality in today’s political and popular life.