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Notes Towards an African Orestes More at IMDbPro »Appunti per un'Orestiade africana (original title)

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Pasolini explores a stupefyingly naive idea

Author: le-misanthrop from Germany
9 November 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Aeschylus's ancient play Orestes details the fabled founding of Athenian democracy - the old tribal chief Agamamnon returns home after his victory at Troy only to get slain by his adulterous wife and her lover; his children Elektra and Orestes take bloody revenge, but are subsequently forgiven by the gods who select Orestes as the founding father of a new societal order. Don't ask me why, but in the 60ies many Western Marxists believed that the African struggle for independence and the overcoming of colonial rule would somehow compare to the dawn of a new age detailed by Aeschylus. Pasolini feeds on this notion by taking cinematic notes while visiting Tanzania and Uganda, planning an all-African version of "Orestes". Taking into account that throughout Africa its peoples were ruled by cruel despots and Soviet puppets, this idea appears to be ridiculous. So the best part of this film essay is a discussion between Pasolini and a group of African students at Rome University who predominantly agree, that the western concept of Africa is generalist, fuzzy and most of all fundamentally flawed. This documentary seems to drag on for hours perpetuating a non-idea. Luckily, Pasolini never filmed "Orestes".

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