Sunday, July 16, 2017

Pier Paolo Pasolini: Il Decameron / The Decameron (1971)

Pier Paolo Pasolini's Il Decameron / The Decameron (1971) presents a choice selection from the massive 100-story tome of the same title written by Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–1375) between 1348 and 1353. I came to The Decameron via Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (1387-1400), which appears to have been influenced by it in several tales. Not only are these not obscure texts, both are enduring world-class cultural treasures. 
Pasolini dives in, creating a vibrant movie version that combines the visuals of painters (as noted in an accompanying documentary in the Criterion Collection DVD set, especially Giotto and Bruegel), regional folk music and local actors. This is the first part of Pasolini's Trilogy of Life

Pasolini (1922-1975) is described in the same Criterion documentary as a "gay Catholic Marxist artist" with an interesting worldview, indeed. 

With his version of The Decameron, Pasolini selects a representative mix of Boccaccio's comical and tragic tales, some ribald and bawdy, a few scary and all both medieval and timeless. They range from grave-robbing, seduction, hypocrisy and ill intent to the most life affirming of activities, working within and around the social mores of the day. There's much to learn from this consciousness-raising film, and a lot more to write about. 

Today's Rune: The Mystery Rune. 

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

Sounds like, the more things change, the more they stay the same.