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The Decameron
The Decameron
Actors: Vincenzo Amato, Salvatore Bilardo, Mirella Catanesi, Franco Citti, Lino Crispo
Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
R     2002     1hr 52min

Legendary Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini delivers nine exuberant tales in this "earthy, genuinely ribald and spicy" (Variety) film. Based on Boccaccio's timeless classicand the first in Pasolini's Trilogy of Life ser...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Vincenzo Amato, Salvatore Bilardo, Mirella Catanesi, Franco Citti, Lino Crispo
Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 11/05/2002
Original Release Date: 01/01/1970
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1970
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 52min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: Italian
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Movie Reviews

This is a bad edition of Pasolini's magnificent film
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Boccacio's Decameron consisted of ten realistic stories told by travelers during the plague. Pasolini tied them together and reframed them within the theme of art-does-not-imitate-life. This DVD cut out some scenes essential for understanding the film (e.g., dinner with water melons in the first story, The Invitation), and sanitized certain erotic ones (e.g., Mute Gardener). It is also a pity that the stories have been edited back-to-back without breaks or subtitles so that the viewer not familiar with the original is left guessing where one story ends and another begins. But the greatest injustice to Pasolini is in cutting out most of the final scene that ties all the stories together and gives them a meaning. In that scene real-life thieves, pedophiles, grave-robbers, murderers, adulterers, con artists, and blasphemers - the stories' characters - are shown depicted on cathedral frescos as saints, angels, and archangels by the starry-eyed painter. At the very least, the buyer should be warned that this DVD is an abridged version of the original, and that its editors took poetic licence with it."
Probably Pasolini's best
Wayne M. Malin | Malden, MA United States | 10/01/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Pasolini's first film in his "Trilogy of Life". It tells nine separate tells from the book "The Decameron". All have a very ribald sense of humor and has a surprising amount (for an R rated film) of male and female nudity. Not for anyone who is easily offended but a fairly good film for those who are interested. Also there are a few really huge swipes at the Catholic Church--one story has a convent of nuns using a man to sexually satisfy all of them--and this is shown in a positive light!"
MGM's transfer is gorgeous, Pasolini's film is weird
Scott Richardson | Chicago, IL USA | 01/22/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Of Pasolini's three "Trilogy of Life" films (Decameron, Canterbury Tales, and Arabian Nights), I find the Decameron to be the most disjointed. By removing the original frame-tale (presumably for the sake of length), he opened himself up for some serious flow problems. About halfway through the film, Pasolini himself makes an appearance as a pupil of Giotto who is commissioned to make a painting of Naples on the wall of a church. This becomes a frame-like device (at the tableau scene near the end, you can see many of the characters from the various episodes in the film), but still doesn't make up for the lack of connection (or at least division) between the stories -- one simply stops and the next starts. There are several instances of narrative continuity (look for the grave-robbers at the saint's funeral later in the film), however, including the aforementioned tableau.That being said, Pasolini's film (and his film-making style) are very influential (most noticeably in the work of Peter Greenaway), with his use of static shots taken from far away in order to give a sense of scale (and awe). Many of the shots in the film are incredibly beautiful (many are simply odd), such as the landscape shots when Andreuccio (played by the incomparable Ninetto Davoli) is running from the city at night.Overall, while The Decameron is fairly disjointed and shot in a Pasolini's unusual style, it is still a very enjoyable (and hilarious) film. MGM's DVD is a vast improvement over the earlier Image edition, featuring a lush transfer, optional subtitles, and a very strange (and very, very 70's) trailer."
An entertaining tour through mediaeval Italy
Brian | London, England | 08/15/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This is the first film in Pasolini's "Trilogy of Life" (the others being "The Canterbury Tales" and "Arabian Nights"). It contains eight tales from Boccaccio's mediaeval work, filmed with Pasolini's usual mixture of realism and visual beauty. The natural locations used here also give a lift to these stories combining love, lust, deception, murder, and religion.As is common in his films, Pasolini has used a combination of non-professional actors and regulars, including Franco Citti in the 'false saint' story, and Ninetto Davoli as a man whose luck goes through several reverses before he comes out on top. Pasolini himself also appears as the mediaeval painter Giotto."The Decameron" is quite bawdy, although it never reaches the heights scaled by "The Canterbury Tales" in this department. On the plus side, however, it's in the original Italian (with English subtitles), so it doesn't suffer from the poor dubbing that afflicts "The Tales"."The Decameron is weakened a bit by the disjointed editing. I'm not sure whether the original film was like that, or if this version used for the DVD was chopped about in some way. Even so, it's an entertaining film with varied stories and a nice period atmosphere."