Trilogy of Life (The Decameron, The Canterbury Tales, Arabian Nights) (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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The Decameron Pasolini weaves together stories from Giovanni Boccaccio’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 man’s exploits with a gang of grave robbers, some randy nuns who sin with a strapping gardener, and Pasolini’s appearance as a pupil of the painter Giotto, at work on a massive fresco. One of the director’s most popular films, The Decameron, transposed to Naples from Boccaccio’s Florence, is a cutting takedown of the pieties surrounding religion and sex.
The Canterbury Tales Eight of Geoffrey Chaucer’s lusty tales come to life on-screen in Pasolini’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 Pasolini’s portrayal of Chaucer himself.
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 Baba—instead, the director focuses on the more erotic tales, ones of desire, betrayal, and atonement, framed by the story of a young man’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.
Top Customer Reviews
I first watched these films during my college years, and was immediately drawn to Pasolini's very unconventional film-making techniques.(*2) Thus, when these were up for sale last November from the redoubtable Criterion Collection, I preordered the blu-ray set. The "Criterion magic" does not disappoint, but.... If memory serves, there are more than 3 or 4 instances when vertical red straight lines appear prominently in the Canterbury Tales.(*3) So here is the puzzle: Why are they (still) there after the careful restoration?
I love Criterion Collection. Even though their products are more expensive, they are almost always worth the additional cost. In particular, these are great improvements from BFI's Region B (UK) blu-ray releases in terms of clarity, contrast, color scheme and especially naturality of the skin tone. So they are really currently the best transfer for these films. However, these vertical red lines are distracting, for me at least. (They are not present in BFI's edition.) I imagine one reason they are there (after the restoration) is that the current digital restoration technology is not advanced enough to remove these lines without compromising the entire frames. However, that theory doesn't seem convincing as Criterion Collection has in the past fixed tears and scratches more serious than these lines. An email inquiry to Criterion Collection did not produce a satisfactory answer. "The lines are in the source material" was all I was told. Maybe I am spoiled, but I have come to expect only the highest quality from Criterion.
If anyone has an answer, I'd be curious to know.Read more ›
Pasolini takes you to beyond your imagination. Love the architecture and the spaces he creates. He approaches cinema as painting.
If you know about these movies, then you should buy them in Blu- ray format. Incredible find. If you do not know about the content of the films, I would look them up on IMDB first as they may not appeal to certain individuals.
Now that my head is clearer, I can almost understand what Passolini was trying to do - sort of - and these blu-ray discs are of much better quality than the art-house films I'd originally seen. I'm happy with this purchase and would recommend this collection to any current or formally liberalized college kid who doesn't mind captions or speaks Italian. They're still fun, outrageous, controversial and come with deleted scenes we'd only speculated about back then (no, there's no hardcore sex after all). You should be a fan of foreign films with their typical rough editing (leading we besotted college guys with visions of erotic things never filmed), and specifically enjoy Passolini's early 70's work.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you know Pasolini, no need for explanation. If you don't, this is a great start.Published 1 month ago by D. H. Lawson
This was a very influential series of films on my young adulthood and it is really delightful to have it available in Blu-Ray with interesting extras.Published on October 22, 2013 by TRP
Overall the collection is OK. Helps if you have some background on the subject and history. Played well and shipped fast.Published on March 5, 2013 by Dan
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