631-634 Trilogy of Life

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Jeff
Posts: 5699
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:49 pm
Location: Denver, CO

631-634 Trilogy of Life

#1 Post by Jeff » Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:49 pm

Trilogy of Life

Image

In the early 1970s, the great Italian poet, philosopher, and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini brought to the screen a trio of masterpieces of premodern world 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, which he titled his Trilogy of Life. In this brazen and bawdy triptych, the director set out to challenge consumer capitalism and celebrate the uncorrupted human body while commenting on contemporary sexual and religious mores and hypocrisies. His scatological humor and rough-hewn sensuality leave all modern standards of decency behind; these are physical, provocative, and wildly entertaining films, all extraordinarily designed by Dante Ferretti and featuring evocative music by Ennio Morricone.

Disc Features

- New high-definition 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 art director Dante Ferretti and composer Ennio Morricone about their work with Pasolini, and with film scholar Sam Rohdie on The Canterbury Tales
- The Lost Body of Alibech (2005), a forty-five-minute documentary by Roberto Chiesi about a lost sequence from The Decameron
- The Secret Humiliation of Chaucer (2006), a forty-seven-minute documentary by Chiesi about The Canterbury Tales
- Via Pasolini, a documentary in which Pasolini discusses his views on language, film, and modern society
- Pier Paolo Pasolini and the Form of the City (1974), a sixteen-minute documentary by Pasolini and Paolo Burnatto about the ancient Italian cities Orte and Sabaudia
- Deleted scenes from Arabian Nights, with transcriptions of pages from the original script
- Pasolini-approved English-dubbed track for The Canterbury Tales
- Trailers
- New English subtitle translations
- PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by critic Colin MacCabe; Pasolini’s 1975 article “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


The Decameron

Image

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.


The Canterbury Tales

Image

Eight of Geoffrey Chaucer’s lusty tales come to life on-screen in 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 ultimately 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 unendingly imaginative work of merry blasphemy, framed by Pasolini’s portrayal of Chaucer himself.


Arabian Nights

Image

Pasolini traveled to Africa, India, and the Middle East to realize this ambitious cinematic treatment of a handful of the stories from the legendary The Thousand and One Nights. This is not the fairy-tale world of Scheherazade or Aladdin or Ali Baba—instead, the director focuses on the more erotic tales, ones of desire, betrayal, and atonement, 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 sensuality.

bamwc2
Posts: 1141
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:54 am

Re: 631-634 Trilogy of Life

#2 Post by bamwc2 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:14 pm

As I said in my Beaver reviews, this is my all time favorite film trilogy. While I'm ecstatic to see these come to Criterion, I'm sad to see the BFI produced documentary about the genre films that The Decameron inspired. It's in no way essential to understanding the film itself, but it was a whole lot of fun.

ryannichols7
Posts: 238
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:26 pm

Re: 631-634 Trilogy of Life

#3 Post by ryannichols7 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:51 pm

I've never seen these (only Salo for Pasolini) but the covers and large amount of bonus features make this a must in the sale.

User avatar
TMDaines
Posts: 3681
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester

Re: 631-634 Trilogy of Life

#4 Post by TMDaines » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:56 pm

These are the kind of in-depth extras I'd have loved to have seen on the MoC Pasolinis post-Accatone and Matteo. Bravo, Criterion. Looks like hanging on to my BFI The Decameron is a no-brainer but the other two can be sold by the time I get this.

User avatar
Tommaso
Posts: 4031
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: 631-634 Trilogy of Life

#5 Post by Tommaso » Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:30 pm

Yes, absolutely wonderful extras indeed. I swore to myself I wouldn't double-dip on these films (or triple-dip in the case of "Decameron"), but now I'm not so sure. Too bad that the BFI disc of "Decameron" must remain in my collection, too, because of "Appunti per un'Orestiade africana". If they had included that one as well, this would have been without any question the ultimate release of these films.

User avatar
swo17
Posts: 13558
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: 631-634 Trilogy of Life

#6 Post by swo17 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:41 pm

Yeah, it would have been nice if that and Appunti per un film sull'India had turned up on one of CC's or MoC's Pasolini releases this year. Are there any other shorter Pasolini films like this that have been included in past editions of these CCd/MoCd films, and that are worth tracking down?

User avatar
Tommaso
Posts: 4031
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: 631-634 Trilogy of Life

#7 Post by Tommaso » Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:52 pm

There's a whole bunch of rare Pasolini stuff on the OOP French 3-discer called "Pasolini -Les années 60":

Che cosa sono le nuvole? (from the omnibus film "Capriccio all'Italiana")
La sequenza del fiore di carta (from the omnibus film "Amore e rabbia")
Toto nel circo (a 5-minute outtake from "Hawks and Sparrows")

plus an absolutely fascinating 1965 documentary made for French TV, "Pasolini l'enragé".

None of these are as essential as the two "Appunti" films, but they would at least have made for nice additions to the barebones MOC releases.

User avatar
bigP
Posts: 456
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 10:59 am
Location: Reading, UK

Re: 631-634 Trilogy of Life

#8 Post by bigP » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:17 pm

The OOP Tartan release of Porcile had Le mura di Sana as an extra.

User avatar
zedz
Posts: 10344
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: 631-634 Trilogy of Life

#9 Post by zedz » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:22 pm

All of Pasolini's released films are now in print, all but one with English subs, and there are a lot of 'minor' / more obscure works among them.

Taking it from the top, with best source indicated:

La ricotta (episode of portmanteau film, 1963) - RoGoPaG (MoC)
La Rabbia (half of feature documentary, 1963) - La Rabbia (Raro Video)
Comizi d'amore (documentary feature, 1964) - Accattone (MoC)
Sopralluoghi in Palestina (essay film, 1965) - The Gospel According to Matthew (MoC)
La terra vista dalla luna (episode of portmanteau film, 1967) - The Witches (MGM R1)
Che cosa sono le nuvole? (episode of portmanteau film, 1968) - Cappriccio all'italiana (Filmauro R2 Italian - NO ENGLISH SUBS -but a subtitled version is up on YouTube)
Appunti per un film sull'India (essay film, 1968) - Pasolini Vol. 2 box set (Tartan OOP)
La sequenze del fiore di carta (episode of portmanteau film, 1969) - Love and Anger (NoShame OOP)
Appunti per un'Orestiade africana (essay film, 1970) - The Decameron (BFI)
Le mura di Sana (documentary short, 1971) - La Rabbia (Raro Video)
Last edited by zedz on Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
knives
Posts: 14040
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 631-634 Trilogy of Life

#10 Post by knives » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:25 pm

bigP wrote:The OOP Tartan release of Porcile had Le mura di Sana as an extra.
Which is on the in print Raro edition of La rabia.

User avatar
zedz
Posts: 10344
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: 631-634 Trilogy of Life

#11 Post by zedz » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:29 pm

knives wrote:
bigP wrote:The OOP Tartan release of Porcile had Le mura di Sana as an extra.
Which is on the in print Raro edition of La rabia.
Is that the US edition? It's on the Italian Raro Medea, not their La rabbia. If so, I'll amend that list, since that disc will be much more accessible to most people.

User avatar
knives
Posts: 14040
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 631-634 Trilogy of Life

#12 Post by knives » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:32 pm

Yes, I mean the US disc. I've been stocking up for the '60s list so I've triple checked all of this.

User avatar
zedz
Posts: 10344
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: 631-634 Trilogy of Life

#13 Post by zedz » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:43 pm

Which reminds me that the imdb date of 1964 for the Sana film is almost certainly way out. Every other reference I've seen for it, included reliable publications on Pasolini, a Harvard retrospective and so on, puts it as 1971.

User avatar
knives
Posts: 14040
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 631-634 Trilogy of Life

#14 Post by knives » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:45 pm

It's not the first time they've been hilariously wrong.

User avatar
oldsheperd
Posts: 1505
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2004 5:18 pm
Location: Rio Rancho/Albuquerque

Re: 631-634 Trilogy of Life

#15 Post by oldsheperd » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:18 pm

Is this the first Criterion boxed set where the blu and sd are the same price?

User avatar
Jean-Luc Garbo
Posts: 2635
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 1:55 am
Contact:

Re: 631-634 Trilogy of Life

#16 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:33 pm

Three Colors Trilogy was price matched.

User avatar
ptatler
Posts: 396
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:08 pm
Contact:

Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#17 Post by ptatler » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:49 pm

I'm really on the fence about the Trilogy of Life. Other than St. Matthew, what I've seen of Pasolini has not done it for me. Anybody care to espouse the virtues of the Trilogy?

User avatar
zedz
Posts: 10344
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#18 Post by zedz » Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:23 pm

ptatler wrote:I'm really on the fence about the Trilogy of Life. Other than St. Matthew, what I've seen of Pasolini has not done it for me. Anybody care to espouse the virtues of the Trilogy?
I love Pasolini, but The Decameron and The Canterbury Tales are my least favourite of his features, by far. The trilogy is pretty interesting as an idea, and in the context of Pasolini's career, however, and Arabian Nights is great.

The Gospel is not a particular favourite of mine either, though I like a lot of things in it. If you're tentative about Pasolini, I'd highly recommend checking out MoC's Accatone, Oedipus Rex and Pigsty, or BFI's Medea and Teorema, first. To me, they're all much closer to Pasolini's spiky core values, and much more successful on their own terms.

Of the remaining features, Salo is obviously a special case, and way too off-putting to recommend as a starting point; Hawks and Sparrows needs a lot of contextualization and doesn't really give you much of an impression of what Pasolini's other work is like; and Mamma Roma also seems to me somewhat unrepresentative, in that you could see it and assume that his work is all about updating neorealism.

User avatar
ellipsis7
Posts: 2413
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:56 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: 631-634 Trilogy of Life

#19 Post by ellipsis7 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:12 am

Appunti per un’Orestiade africana, while an extra on the BFI Decameron disc, is available in a standalone restored DVD edition with Eng subs from the Cineteca di Bologna...
Restored version of a film by Pier Paolo Pasolini

DVD (73' + extras; Italian and English, with English, French and Italian subtitles) + book (48 pages)

Edizioni Cineteca di Bologna, Bologna 2008

With Appunti per un’Orestiade africana the Bologna Cineteca launches the new publication series Il Cinema Ritrovato. DVDs and books of never-seen-before or rare titles that have been recently restored. Pasolini completed the film in 1973, but it was not screened for over two years. It was the only work by the writer-director that was not accepted for public television or distribution not because it was “scandalous” but because deemed “difficult” and not easily marketable. The Bologna Cineteca’s new version was restored at its lab L’Immagine ritrovata using materials provided by producer Gian Vittorio Baldi. Extra features include interviews with Dacia Maraini, Massimo Fusillo and Baldi. The booklet edited by Roberto Chiesi comprises writing by Pier Paolo Pasolini, an introduction by Giuseppe Bertolucci, criticism and reviews from the period.

User avatar
MichaelB
Posts: 12263
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: 631-634 Trilogy of Life

#20 Post by MichaelB » Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:49 am

It's interesting that Criterion are only offering the English dub for The Canterbury Tales (the BFI editions have alternative English dubs for all three titles), though I certainly agree that that's the only title for which the inclusion of the English dub actually matters. I still much prefer the film in English: quite aside from it being the language of the literary source, Tom Baker's voice is one of the glories of postwar British cultural heritage, and dubbing him into Italian is a huge waste.

Talking of which, I wish Criterion had offered the English dub of And the Ship Sails On as well, because precisely the same argument applies to Freddie Jones. I was quite surprised to see the film in English on its original UK theatrical release, but because Jones is the onscreen narrator and audience confidant it certainly felt more like the versione originale than the Italian version on the Criterion DVD.

User avatar
ptatler
Posts: 396
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:08 pm
Contact:

Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#21 Post by ptatler » Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:44 am

zedz wrote:
ptatler wrote:I'm really on the fence about the Trilogy of Life. Other than St. Matthew, what I've seen of Pasolini has not done it for me. Anybody care to espouse the virtues of the Trilogy?
I love Pasolini, but The Decameron and The Canterbury Tales are my least favourite of his features, by far. The trilogy is pretty interesting as an idea, and in the context of Pasolini's career, however, and Arabian Nights is great.

The Gospel is not a particular favourite of mine either, though I like a lot of things in it. If you're tentative about Pasolini, I'd highly recommend checking out MoC's Accatone, Oedipus Rex and Pigsty, or BFI's Medea and Teorema, first. To me, they're all much closer to Pasolini's spiky core values, and much more successful on their own terms.

Of the remaining features, Salo is obviously a special case, and way too off-putting to recommend as a starting point; Hawks and Sparrows needs a lot of contextualization and doesn't really give you much of an impression of what Pasolini's other work is like; and Mamma Roma also seems to me somewhat unrepresentative, in that you could see it and assume that his work is all about updating neorealism.
zedz, thank you very much for this primer. Pasolini is someone I've been meaning to give another crack for a while so I think I'll start with ACCATONE. Really appreciate your feedback!

User avatar
Tommaso
Posts: 4031
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: 631-634 Trilogy of Life

#22 Post by Tommaso » Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:47 am

MichaelB wrote:It's interesting that Criterion are only offering the English dub for The Canterbury Tales (the BFI editions have alternative English dubs for all three titles), though I certainly agree that that's the only title for which the inclusion of the English dub actually matters. I still much prefer the film in English: quite aside from it being the language of the literary source, Tom Baker's voice is one of the glories of postwar British cultural heritage, and dubbing him into Italian is a huge waste.
I really don't remember, so forgive me if I'm talking nonsense: do we hear Pasolini's own voice as Chaucer in both the English and Italian dubs of "Canterbury"? If it's only in the Italian version, then that one would be a very strong alternative, although I also always watched the film in English. Pasolini had an admirable way of speaking and of reading his own poetry.

User avatar
MichaelB
Posts: 12263
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: 631-634 Trilogy of Life

#23 Post by MichaelB » Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:51 am

Tommaso wrote:I really don't remember, so forgive me if I'm talking nonsense: do we hear Pasolini's own voice as Chaucer in both the English and Italian dubs of "Canterbury"? If it's only in the Italian version, then that one would be a very strong alternative, although I also always watched the film in English. Pasolini had an admirable way of speaking and of reading his own poetry.
Since I'm not familiar with Pasolini's voice but am very familiar with the voices of his British performers, I suspect I'd still favour the English version - but since both Criterion and the BFI offer both, it's very much down to personal preference.

j99
Posts: 239
Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 10:18 am

Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#24 Post by j99 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:57 am

ptatler wrote: zedz, thank you very much for this primer. Pasolini is someone I've been meaning to give another crack for a while so I think I'll start with ACCATONE. Really appreciate your feedback!
Try and see Oedipus Rex if you can. It's a masterpiece, and along with Theorem, my favourite of all his films.

User avatar
MichaelB
Posts: 12263
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#25 Post by MichaelB » Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:59 am

j99 wrote:
ptatler wrote: zedz, thank you very much for this primer. Pasolini is someone I've been meaning to give another crack for a while so I think I'll start with ACCATONE. Really appreciate your feedback!
Try and see Oedipus Rex if you can. It's a masterpiece, and along with Theorem, my favourite of all his films.
...and it's coming out on Blu-ray very soon, though presumably locked to Region B.

Post Reply