RoGoPaG took its title from the surnames of the writer-directors who created each of the four segments: Roberto Rossellini, Jean-Luc Godard, Pier Paolo Pasolini and the least well known, Ugo Gregoretti. Rossellini's episode features an air hostess, Annamaria (Rosanna Schiaffino) on a flight to Thailand who is the focus of a lot of interest from one of the passengers, Joe (Bruce Balaban). He is the sort of man who believes everything he reads in Playboy and does his level best to insinuate himself into Annamaria's life, having put her on a pedastal. The camera-obsessed stewardess regularly sends footage of her trip back to her boyfriend, and he and a psychiatrist work out a method to chase Joe away. The psychology used here is amateur at best, and the lasting feeling is of a mere unworthy trifle by the celebrated filmmaker.
A lot of this feeling could apply to Godard's entry, the shortest of the bunch, which concerns a husband (Jean-Marc Bory) who feels his wife (Alexandra Stewart) is growing more distant from him. A series of conversations that don't really go anywhere is what follows, and the sensational news that a huge nuclear bomb has exploded over Paris, where the couple live, does little to electrify the situation. Eventually (I say eventually, it doesn't seem that long at all) the husband reaches an understanding with his missus as the effects of the bomb change attitudes in the city, and a new kind of personal freedom is acheived. This one is largely unilluminating throughout.
But it's not all bad, as Pasolini's story is a lot more sprightly, even if it does build to an unhappy ending. Orson Welles plays a pretentious director (modelled on Pasolini himself? we wonder) who is creating a religious movie with a group of actors and technicians who don't really care about the subject matter, and one of them, Stracci (Mario Cipriani), who plays the Good Thief crucified at Christ's side, is more concerned about his stomach than anything else. Amusing scenes of Stracci trying and failing to fill his tummy provide much of the entertainment, yet cheeky Pasolini is making a serious point about the Church's hypocritical neglect of the needy. Welles, seated in a director's chair for much of his appearance, only makes an impression when interviewed by a journalist who doesn't understand what he's on about.
Coming in second best is Gregoretti's entry, an amused potshot at consumerism which cuts a lecture given by a professor on the subject (who uses an electronic voicebox throughout, for some reason) in amongst scenes of a family visiting a site of what they hope will be their new house. The father (Ugo Tognazzi) is bombarded with ads everywhere, or so he feels, and viewers of a certain age may feel a nostalgic rush when they see Topo Gigio in a TV commercial, if disturbed by his callous treatment. When they hit the road, the father grows ever more irate, and stopping at a restaurant where he is obliged to buy a lot of useless items for his family doesn't ease his temper. There's a nice visual gag here when after he has explained battery chickens to his son, we see the patrons packed into their booths as chickens themselves. RoGoPaG mainly holds interest for the Pasolini episode which had him tackle religion in a less respectful way than his later The Gospel According to St Matthew.
[This film is available as part of Tartan's Region 2 Pasolini box set, Volume 1, along with Accatone and Love Meetings.]