Home Page  
 
 

SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Italian PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • On "The Decameron," a new visual essay by film scholar Patrick Rumble
  • The Lost Body of Alibech (2005), a documentary by Roberto Chiesi about a lost sequence from The Decameron
  • Via Pasolini (2005), a documentary featuring archival footage of Pasolini discussing his views on language, film, and modern society
  • Trailers

The Decameron

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Pier Paolo Pasolini
1971 | 111 Minutes | Licensor: MGM Home Entertainment

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $69.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #632
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: November 13, 2012
Review Date: November 24, 2012

Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca

Share:

SYNOPSIS

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.

Forum members rate this film 6.5/10

 

Discuss the film and Blu-ray here   


PICTURE

Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Decameron comes to Blu-ray through Criterion’s box set The Trilogy of Life. The film, the first in the trilogy, is presented on the first dual-layer disc of the set in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with a new 1080p/24hz high-definition digital transfer.

There’s some faltering that I blame more on the print but Criterion’s delivery is quite the stunner looking like a projected film. There are a few softer moments that look to be inherent in the film, but this is thankfully the exception and not the rule with this transfer. Details are sharp, with many finer ones, like the stone work in many of the buildings that appear, jumping out clearly. The film is grainy but the transfer delivers it in a clean and natural manner with no compression noise or pixilation, and the lack of any other artifacts makes this one of the more filmic transfers to come from Criterion.

Blacks levels vary but they’re fairly deep, but colours are perfectly saturated. The film’s opening credits present what looks like bubbling on the right side of the screen that disappears once the feature begins. The remainder of the film is incredibly clean, presenting only a few minor blemishes. In all it’s a stunner and thankfully pretty representative of what you can expect from the set overall.

8/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

AUDIO

The lossless linear PCM 1.0 mono track is limited by the source but holds up rather well. The primary issue is that dialogue has been dubbed post-production, common with Italian films of the time, and this does lead to a bit of a detached feel from the main feature. But the dialogue sounds crisp and clear, and the music doesn’t offer any distortion. It is admittedly a bit one-note and flat, but serviceable.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Criterion’s box set for Pasolini’s Trilogy of Life presents a number of features over the set’s three discs focusing on the individual films, the trilogy as a whole, and the filmmaker. The Decameron’s features start with a new visual essay by film scholar Patrick Rumble. On “The Decameron is a 25-minute piece looking at Pasolini’s early career and how it led to The Decameron and the Trilogy of Life. It looks at his influences, particularly paintings, and his style, which was referred to by Bernardo Bertolucci as “deliberately naïve.” It’s a decent essay that I really appreciated in lieu of a commentary, though when going over the narrative structure of the film he more or less just relates the entire film and its stories for a few minutes. But other than that it’s a strong inclusion. What many will also find interesting are probably the clips from the film used throughout: it will give you an idea as to how intense the restoration for this films was since the clips here still show the heavy damage I’m guessing was still in the source materials used.

After this we get the 45-minute documentary The Lost Body of Alibech. The documentary looks at a scene deleted from the film, the story of “Alibech,” a still from which was used in one of the posters for the film. It also looks at another deleted segment called “Girolamo and Salvestra” if only briefly. The “Girolamo” segment was cut because Pasolini was unhappy with it, but he ended up cutting out the “Alibech” segment just before the film’s premiere to shorten the film, though it was apparently hard for him to do so. The documentary gathers together members of the crew, or those who had worked with Pasolini before, and they recall the scene’s shoot. The segment was cut ultimately because it took place in Sana’a, Yemen, and was the only segment that took place outside of Italy.

The segment has unfortunately been lost but the last half of this feature presents a reconstruction of the sequence using the original script and behind-the-scene photographs that still exist. I think this last half is actually not part of the documentary but something Criterion may have put together as it looks more like their work. Altogether it’s a rather fascinating inclusion.

Finally, the disc presents Via Pasolini, which is a 27-minute piece made up of various audio and video clips of the director talking about his work, influences, and politics, and even touches on dialects and other topics that fascinate him. I was actually a bit disappointed with this feature, which is too choppy and never has a focus, and it’s all material I’ve pretty much come across before.

The disc then closes with a couple of trailers. There are more supplements to be found on the other discs in the sets. A large booklet is also included covering the films within the set.

Not a lot overall but on their own I found the supplements mostly engaging and helpful in appreciating the film even more than I already did. Other than maybe the interview compilation the material is all worth going through.

7/10

CLOSING

On its own it’s a strong release, and is pretty indicative of the qualities of the set as a whole as it delivers a solid, filmic transfer, and some decent supplementary material to accompany the film.


View packaging for this Blu-ray

Share: 



Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca  




Join our Facebook Group (requires Facebook account)

This site is not affiliated with The Criterion Collection