The Decameron


Reviewed by: Gator MacReady

The Decameron
"A film that is only good because everyone else says it is."

I have to say this. I have to get it out. Not every Hollywood film is crap and not every art movie is wonderful. No matter where they come from movies can be either good or bad. After researching all the praise The Decameron has received, this appears to be another one of those movies that suffers from insider-syndrome - a film that is only good because everyone else says it is.

What we have for 107 minutes is 10 different stories of 14th century Italy and how some of them loosely interweave, while others are so totally uneventful, you wonder what the director was thinking.

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A man is robbed, trapped in a tomb, freed from a tomb, never seen again. Wow! One great story. A deaf-mute gardener deflowers a convent of nuns - I admit, this is original, without being entertaining - and is never seen again. A man has an affair with a married woman and hides in a big jar when her husband returns early. No one is seen again. There are moments of irony - a girl loses her virginity while her parents sleep in separate beds - but nothing to raise this jalopy out of the swamp.

Pier Paolo Pasolini's direction is wanton. The camera is handheld, the framing and photographic composition awful and around 99 per cent of all scenes pointless.

The film is dubbed in its own language for some bizarre reason and the subtitles accommodate only half of the dialogue. Nothing is ever explained, or cleared up, leaving you wondering on earth what is going on.

There are snatches of nudity and some of the subject matter may be a little alarming, but this is far from being controversial, or daring. One self-involved movie is just the same as the next. Films like this give arthouse cinema a bad name.

Reviewed on: 31 May 2001
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Ten different stories of 14th century Italy loosely interwoven.
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Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini

Writer: Pier Paolo Pasolini, based on the book by Giovanni Boccaccio

Starring: Franco Citti, Ninetto Davoli, Angel Luce, Patrizia Capparelli, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Jovan Jovanovic

Year: 1971

Runtime: 107 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Italy/France/Germany


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