The Canterbury Tales
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Pier Paolo Pasolini's (Decameron) startling candor and ribald humor illuminate these classic tales of romance, deception, murder and lust. A host of passionate lovers unite for a glorious, sometimes unexpected journey through Chaucer's medieval England.
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Top customer reviews
Based on the famous tales of Geoffrey Chaucer, Pasolini uses the tales as a means to poke fun primarily at the institution of marriage. Pasolini is not as adept here as he was in The Decameron and he does not seem as sure of himself in adapting the material. On the whole this film seems somewhat choppy and I found myself staring at my watch more and more as the film progressed. That is not to say that there is no good material here just that there are long stretches where not much seems to be happening.
I find it hard to really recommend this film because of the obscene price that resellers are getting for it. The lowest price that I can find for the Image release is around $110.00 dollars. The print is washed out and the the sound is weak. It is noted on the box that the print was taken from the best available elements but this is questionable. This is a very bare bones edition that has no special features not even a trailer. It is time for a company like Criterion to take the step of restoring the trilogy.
I'm glad that I've seen this rare film but I cannot really recommend purchasing this edition. I understand that there are better copies from other regions so that may be the best way to go if you must own this one. Slightly disappointed.
If you are familiar with the works of Pier Paolo Pasolini (who plays Chaucer) then the nature and the look of the film will come as no surprise. In addition to being a filmmaker, Pasolini was a poet, a Marxist, a gay rights activist, and a political agitator. It was the last two activities that led to his murder in 1975. His films have a deliberately primitive style that recalls the films of D. W. Griffith and those of Italian Neorealism. Pasolini deliberately used non-professionals in many of his films to achieve the look he wanted and to get "unaffected" performances. The film was made in several of Chaucer's English locations giving the stories a real sense of verisimilitude. The fact that Sergio Leone's regular cameraman Tonino Delli Colli was also Pasolini's regular cameraman tells you that Pasolini deliberately wanted a cinema-verite look. Yes the performances are uneven and the dubbing is occasionally haphazard but that doesn't take away from the film's overall effectiveness. The British Film Institute has recently issued a beautiful restoration on DVD & Blu-Ray but it's Region 2 only.