Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Canterbury Tales (1972) Film Review
The Canterbury Tales
Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown
For the middle film in Pier Paolo Pasolini's "Trilogy of Life" brings some of Geoffrey Chaucer's medieval tales to the screen, in all their farting, pissing, excreting, fornicating glory.
Those with delicate sensibilities are thus advised to steer clear of the film, while Chaucer scholars may object to the liberties Pasolini has taken with the author's work.
By concentrating on the bawdier Tales and disregarding their sequence, the director's interpretation obscures the way in which tales would engage in a dialogue with one another somewhat.
Where Parker and Stone have Satan and Saddam Hussein as gay lovers, Pasolini has the horned one expel what the South Park kids might term an "explosive diarrhoea" of priests.
Of course, Pasolini expects the viewer to work with his film. But, with the deliberate flatness of the actors counterbalanced by rich costuming, production design and mise-en-scene that consciously evoke the paintings of Brueghel and Bosch, our efforts are amply rewarded.
Ironically the most alienating aspect of the film is accidental: it's downright odd to see familiar British faces like Tom Baker and Robin Asquith speaking with unrecognisable Italian voices.
While The Canterbury Tales is never going to be the sort of film that will appeal to everyone it does deserve to be better known.Reviewed on: 14 Jun 2001