The Decameron (1971)
Directed by Pier Paulo Pasolini
Communist poet and filmmaker Pasolini’s Decameron retells Boccaccio’s classic moral tales with burlesque humor and colorful imagery. Among of these antics include a young gardener who pretends to be deaf-mute to tempt a convent of sinful nuns; a gullible young man who has been terribly wronged before he gets involved with a couple of grave robbers; and a corrupt merchant who lies his way to sainthood. Like any good Italian Catholic communist, Pasolini finds pleasure in toying with religious/bourgeois ehypocrisies and even greater pleasure in all the Catholic Church’s fetishized symbolism.
Along with The Canterbury Tales and Arabian Nights, Il Decameron is the first of Pasolini’s so-called Trilogy of Life. Like both other films, Il Decameron is also based on canonical literature. This follows Pasolini’s well-known fascination with reworking old texts like the New Testament and The 120 Days of Sodom, or the School of Libertinage. Pasolini recreates his very own picturesque version of the fourteenth century with help from production designer Dante Ferretti and legendary composer Ennio Morricone, who both soon become Hollywood icons. Alejandro Veciana (February 10, 11, midnight at the Nitehawk)