Pier Paolo Pasolini's Trilogy Of Life (BLU-RAY)
In the early 1970s, the great Italian poet, philosopher, and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini brought to the screen a trio of masterpieces of medieval literature—Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron, Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, and The Thousand and One Nights (often known as The Arabian Nights)—and in doing so created his most uninhibited and extravagant work. In this brazen and bawdy triptych, the director set out to challenge modern consumer culture and celebrate the uncorrupted human body, while commenting on contemporary sexual and religious mores and hypocrisies. Filled with scatological humor and a rough-hewn sensuality that leave all modern standards of decency behind, these are carnal, provocative, and wildly entertaining films, all extraordinarily designed by Dante Ferretti and featuring evocative music by Ennio Morricone.
Pier Paolo Pasolini weaves together a handful of 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, a flock of 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 Pier Paolo 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 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 endlessly imaginative work of merry blasphemy, framed by Pasolini’s portrayal of Chaucer himself.
Pier Paolo Pasolini traveled to Africa, Nepal, and the Middle East to realize this ambitious cinematic treatment of a selection of stories from the legendary The Thousand and One Nights. This is not the fairy-tale world of Scheherazade or Aladdin, though. Instead, the director focuses on the book’s more erotic tales, 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 sexuality.
- New digital restorations of all three films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray editions
- New visual essays by film scholars Patrick Rumble and Tony Rayns, on The Decameron and Arabian Nights, respectively
- New interviews with production designer Dante Ferretti, composer Ennio Morricone, and film scholar Sam Rohdie
- Introduction to Arabian Nights by director Pier Paolo Pasolini
- The Lost Body of Alibech (2005), a documentary by Roberto Chiesi about a lost sequence from The Decameron
- The Secret Humiliation of Chaucer (2006), a documentary by Chiesi about The Canterbury Tales
- Via Pasolini (2005), a documentary featuring archival footage of Pasolini discussing his views on language, film, and modern society
- Pasolini and the Form of the City (1974), a documentary by Pasolini and Paolo Brunatto about the Italian cities Orte and Sabaudia
- Deleted scenes from Arabian Nights
- Pasolini-approved English-dubbed track for The Canterbury Tales
- New English subtitle translations
- PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by critic Colin MacCabe; Pasolini’s 1975 statement “Trilogy of Life Rejected”; excerpts from Pasolini’s Berlin Film Festival press conference for The Canterbury Tales; and a report from the set of Arabian Nights by critic Gideon Bachmann