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The Canterbury Tales – 1972 Pasolini
- The Canterbury Tales is Pasolini’s second film in his Trilogy of Life—landing between The Decameron (1971) and Arabian Nights (1974)
- It is an adaptation of Chaucer of course- and Pasolini playfully actually portrays the author on screen, jotting down all these vignettes
- Hugh Griffith in the lead in the first vignette gives it a sort of fun, yet toothless (which can’t be what Pasolini is going for after Teorema in 1968) carnal frivolity. “I must trespass you” to his much younger new wife. It is like Tom Jones (also with Griffith) without the polish (which is shocking giving the crew assembled here). That crew includes Morricone doing this score, Dante Ferretti doing the production design (Salo, The Age of Innocence, Casino, Baron Munchausen) and Tonino Delli Colli as cinematographer (Leone’s go-to DP for The Good The Bad and The Ugly, and both Once Upon a Time movies).
- Pasolini is trying to expose the ugliness of the Middle Ages, call out hypocrisy in organized religion. But it is also played for base laughs as well (there are a seemingly endless supply of flatulence jokes)- sort of Bunuel meets Fellini’s Amarcord but really succeeding at neither route. It was a controversial film (is there any other kind of film when talking about Pasolini?) –not just the mocking of religion and clergy, but the sex and nudity (1972 is the year of Deep Throat).
- There’s fast-motion photography which is straight out of slapstick comedy. In other scene some cops playfully chase a man through the market.
- Pasolini regular Franco Citti plays the devil
- Recommend but not in the top 10 of 1972—closer to the edge of the archives. Teorema is far better, as is something like Life of Brian from the Monty Python crew