Trilogy of Life
Edition no. 631
Pier Paolo Pasolini weaves together a handful of Giovanni Boccaccio’s fourteenth-century moral tales in this picturesque free-for-all. The Decameron explores the delectations and dark corners of an earlier and, as the filmmaker saw it, less compromised time. Among the chief delights are a young man’s exploits with a gang of grave robbers, a flock of randy nuns who sin with a strapping gardener, and Pasolini’s appearance as a pupil of the painter Giotto, at work on a massive fresco. One of the director’s most popular films, The Decameron, transposed to Naples from Boccaccio’s Florence, is a cutting takedown of the pieties surrounding religion and sex.
Eight of Geoffrey Chaucer’s lusty tales come to life on-screen in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s gutsy and delirious The Canterbury Tales, which was shot in England and offers a remarkably earthy re-creation of the medieval era. From the story of a nobleman struck blind after marrying a much younger and promiscuous bride to a climactic trip to a hell populated by friars and demons (surely one of the most outrageously conceived and realized sequences ever committed to film), this is an endlessly imaginative work of merry blasphemy, framed by Pasolini’s portrayal of Chaucer himself.
Pier Paolo Pasolini traveled to Africa, Nepal, and the Middle East to realize this ambitious cinematic treatment of a selection of stories from the legendary The Thousand and One Nights. This is not the fairy-tale world of Scheherazade or Aladdin, though. Instead, the director focuses on the book’s more erotic tales, framed by the story of a young man’s quest to reconnect with his beloved slave girl. Full of lustrous sets and costumes and stunning location photography, Arabian Nights is a fierce and joyous exploration of human sexuality.
Details by Film
The Canterbury Tales
- On “The Decameron,” a new visual essay by film scholar Patrick Rumble
- The Lost Body of Alibech (2005), a forty-five-minute documentary by Roberto Chiesi about a lost sequence from The Decameron
- Via Pasolini (2005), a twenty-seven-minute documentary featuring archival footage of director Pier Paolo Pasolini discussing his views on language, film, and modern society
- New interview with film scholar Sam Rohdie
- The Secret Humiliation of Chaucer (2006), a forty-seven-minute documentary by Roberto Chiesi about The Canterbury Tales
- New interviews with art director Dante Ferretti and composer Ennio Morricone
- Introduction by director Pier Paolo Pasolini
- On “Arabian Nights,” a new visual essay by film scholar Tony Rayns
- Deleted scenes, with transcriptions of the dialogue from the original script
- Pier Paolo Pasolini and the Form of the City (1974), a sixteen-minute documentary by Pasolini and Paolo Brunatto about the Italian cities Orte and Sabaudia