Monday, November 2, 2015

I racconti di Canterbury

Pier Paolo Pasolini, England, 1972

Despite the pessimism, regarding the future of all those things he loved, that he seems to have fallen into during much of the final year of his life, I do not believe that Pasolini in any way willed his own death, which occurred forty years ago today.  So in honor of his life (one that I happily have taken again and again as an example for my own) I chose these two sets of images from the film he made in England based on Chaucer’s Middle English masterpiece.  They are images that do a very good job of conveying the idea and sensation of friendship, both on earth and in hell. I especially like that these handsome devils have bonded in brotherhood and kept their sense of humor despite the horrible work they’re called upon to do; but even more pleasing are the frames from earlier in the film of the two young students (whom the Miller tries to cheat of their flour,) who fuck with the Miller’s daughter and wife and come away, in the end of their tale, with the bread made from the same grain they brought to be ground.

Sadly, though, there are friendships that seem so solid but end in betrayal and death, even murder, as the one in this, the darkest tale in the film, where three bosom friends poison or stab each other for the sake of sole ownership of a golden treasure; but even what we see here at the beginning of the tale, their proud and inconsiderate fucking of the working women in a whorehouse doesn't bode well for them.  All three of these well endowed youths stolidly follow their path to an early death.

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