Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Decameron


Il Decameron; drama / comedy, Italy / France / Germany, 1971; D: Pier Paolo Pasolini, S: Franco Citti, Ninetto Davioli, Jovan Jovanović, Vincenzo Amato, Angela Luce, Silvana Mangano

14th Century. A woman tricks the naive Andreuccio that she is his sister, robs him in her home and throws him out on the street. But he becomes rich by plundering graves...A woman is hiding her lover in a vase from her husband...A young lad pretends to be mute and gets a job as a gardener in a convent. But all the nuns want to lose virginity with him, so he rebels and speaks up...A painter is making a mural in a church...A girl, Caterina, places her bed on the open so that her lover could visit her...The three brothers eliminate the lover of their sister...A priest tricks a fool by promising to transform his wife into a mule at day in order to help him at his farm...A man dies and his ghost shows up to proclaim his brother that it's not a sin to have intercourse.
The adaptation of Boccaccio's novel "The Decameron" offers excellent fun and is one of the most cheerful in the hermetic opus of director Pier Paolo Pasolini, launching his "Trilogy of Life" that celebrates joy, happiness and freedom. Pasolini infiltrated his Marxist view into the story that critiques the class difference, but also openly portrayed the beauty of unbound first love, not hesitating to show naked guys and girls, while the novel was well chosen since it's sharp wit seems rebellious even today, queuing numerous satirical events (the grave plunderers make a sign of cross and knee down before they exit the church; the mute gardener with whom all the nuns want to sleep with - because they think he won't be able to say anything anyway - finally protests and speaks out: "I didn't know what kind of a job this would be! A rooster can satisfy all the chicken, but all the men couldn't satisfy all of you!"; a ghost announces to a man that it's not a sin to have intercourse and the lad immediately "jumps" on a woman). And the story with the painter (Pasolini himself) who dreams about angels and the Madonna on his mural is enchanting. Even though the drastic cuts from one episodic event to another are deliberately vague, the 10 stories are combined with a fine narration that re-questions some moral dogmas and accepts the human with all of his flaws and virtues.

Grade:+++

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