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THE CANTERBURY TALES

I Racconti di Canterbury

Pier Paolo Pasolini | 1970 | 111 MINS
Italy | Subtitles
Pasolini's artistic, sometimes violent, always vividly cinematic retelling of some of Chaucer's most erotic tales

In Detail

Like ‘The Decameron,’ ‘Canterbury Tales’ is also a broad canvas on which is writ large and bawdy the life of the people. We are again plummeted into a world of lecherous ladies, ugly old husbands, willing and ready pages, ending with a superb final fling in a gaudy red Sicilian hell, accompanied by a salvo of farts.

As usual Pasolini creates visual magic where other directors would never see beyond the banal, and the humour is as rich as ever. The best tales are of course the blacker ones: Franco Citti as the Devil, in the Friar's tale, blackmailing sexual offenders; or Reeve's tale, a neat variation on one of the hoariest sex gags around.

Pasolini introduces to the audience an incorrupt world where people don't care about 'material aspects of life', they try to live at the full stretch, they seek love and, of course, sex and they do not respect 'the repressive limits imposed by religious and bourgeois morality' (Gino Moliterno). This is probably why Pasolini later declared that these three films were the most ideological of his career.

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