Christopher T. Begg
In several of his writings on the relation between film and language, Pasolini discusses the possibility of a moment in which a screenplay can be considered an autonomous object, “a work complete and finished in itself.” In the first part of this essay, I will reflect on the concept of the screenplay in a larger context and more specifically, Pasolini’s writings on the ontological status of the screenplay as a “structure that wants to be another structure.” The case of Saint Paul is thought-provoking, precisely because this original screenplay was never turned into an actual film. Despite this, Pasolini argues that the screenplay invites – or perhaps even forces – its reader to imagine, to visualize, the film it describes. Pasolini’s ideas on the function of language as a means to conjure up images are central to this act of visualization. In the second part of this essay, I will attempt an act of visualization. This endeavor to visualize Saint Paul as a possible film is hinged upon a careful reading of the screenplay. I analyze the opening and closing sequences outlined in the screenplay to visualize the possible filmic expression of its protagonist Paul.