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Il Decameron (1971)

Welcome back for another review. This time another first! Another non-public domain movie by the name of Il Decameron (The Decameron for idiots) by Pasolini.
  • Year of release: 1971
  • Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama
  • IMDB Page
Based of course on Boccaccio's popular collection of stories from the 14th century, Pasolini adapts around 10 of the 100 stories for his first entry of the "Trilogy of life".The trilogy of life actually contains this movie, The Canterbury Tales and Arabian Nights. All three based on medieval books (which I might review in the future?).
I always get the shitty.. whoops made that joke before.
The stories Pasolini shows us are sometimes connected, but not always. We follow Ciappelletto, a murderer, thief, homosexual and sodomist who lies to a priest on his deathbed an therefore is hailed as a saint. The directors way of taking a stab at Christianity perhaps? We see some nuns exploring the sins of the flesh with a gardener who pretends he's a deaf mute (hilarity ensues), a nobleman who gets what is coming to him for being naive and many more stories.
Pasolini himself appears in this movie as artist Giotto, who has been hired to paint a fresco in the city's cathedral. What is special about this part of the movie is that from this point on everything that happens become scenes of the fresco.
Rambo, the renaissance version.

I'm not sure if this is just Pasolini being a narcissist or there are some quite deep meaning behind this all, but I am sure one of those arthouse buffs will tell me all about it (after all this is a review, not a analysis). At the end of the movie/fresco our painter wonders:
“Why create a work of art when dreaming about it is so much sweeter?”
Yes, I also have no idea why he ask himself that question, but it's a good quote nonetheless.
An inspiration to nunsploitation.
(I should have been a poet, or maybe a rapper)

The movie itself must been one of the most convincing movies about medieval life I have seen, of course the amount of sex and humor are exaggerated, and the stories themselves are not too believable, it is the surroundings and the whole atmosphere created that made me believe it, not to much of a surprise considering the book it is based on.

There is also an interesting paradox shown between two love stories, in the first one, we get a rich boy from a noble house who has sex with a girl from a good house. When the dad finds out he instead of killing him forces the boy to marry his daughter, ensuring the good name. When on the other hand the brothers of a girl find out she has been shagging (trying to keep it classy here) with a servant in the second story they secretly kill and bury him, showing us that in the end, what social class you where born in really mattered back then.
Cover Your Cough, you stupid woman.

Pasolini uses non-professional actors in this movie, he might have sacrificed some acting talent like this, but he sacrificed it for real, original and honest performances and people.
I would still stay as far away from Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom as possible, but if you want a realistic, all in all quite uplifting view of the dark ages, look no further than this first part of Pasolini's trilogy.
I believe this scene is self-explanatory, it's obvious the woman is searching for something on the floor that the dastardly priest has actually hidden in his pants.

Score: 8/10


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