In the early 1970s, the great Italian poet, philosopher, and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini (SalÃ², or The 120 Days of Sodom) brought to the screen a trio of masterpieces of premodern world literatureâ€”Giovanni Boccaccioâ€™s The Decameron, Geoffrey Chaucerâ€™s The Canterbury Tales, and The Thousand and One Nights (often known as The Arabian Nights)â€”and in doing so created his most uninhibited and extravagant work, which he titled his Trilogy of Life. In this brazen and bawdy triptych, the director set out to challenge consumer capitalism and celebrate the uncorrupted human body while commenting on contemporary sexual and religious mores and hypocrisies. His scatological humor and rough-hewn sensuality leave all modern standards of decency behind; these are physical, provocative, and wildly entertaining films, all extraordinarily designed by Dante Ferretti (Hugo) and featuring evocative music by Ennio Morricone (Days of Heaven).
The Decameron Pasolini weaves together stories from Giovanni Boccaccioâ€™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 manâ€™s exploits with a gang of grave robbers, some randy nuns who sin with a strapping gardener, and Pasoliniâ€™s appearance as a pupil of the painter Giotto, at work on a massive fresco. One of the directorâ€™s most popular films, The Decameron, transÂposed to Naples from Boccaccioâ€™s Florence, is a cutting takedown of the pieties surrounding religion and sex.
1971 111 minutes Color Monaural In Italian with English subtitles 1.85:1 aspect ratio
The Canterbury Tales Eight of Geoffrey Chaucerâ€™s lusty tales come to life on-screen in Pasoliniâ€™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 ultimately 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 unendingly imaginative work of merry blasphemy, framed by Pasoliniâ€™s portrayal of Chaucer himself.
1972 111 minutes Color Monaural In Italian with English subtitles 1.85:1 aspect ratio
Arabian Nights Pasolini traveled to Africa, India, and the Middle East to realize this ambitious cinematic treatment of a handful of the stories from the legendary The Thousand and One Nights. This is not the fairy-tale world of Scheherazade or Aladdin or Ali Babaâ€”instead, the director focuses on the more erotic tales, ones of desire, betrayal, and atonement, framed by the story of a young manâ€™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 sensuality.
1974 130 minutes Color Monaural In Italian with English subtitles 1.85:1 aspect ratio