The Canterbury Tales

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Year Released: 1972
Rating: 3.0

Middle component of Pasolini's "Trilogy of Life" is a liberal rethink of Chaucer's classic work, centering on the sexual dealings of peasants, rich men, young men, prostitutes and so on - it's done with a tongue firmly in cheek and also quite raucous and juvenile. The Marxist/atheist in the great Italian comes through in some of the tales (particular the one about the riches under the tree) and the sexual radical in him can't resist making a supremely dark gag out of a homosexual being burned alive while the voyeur can't resist ogling the exposed flesh (if anything, this and the other films in the trilogy are odes to the vulnerable human body). The hammy, amateurish acting and flatulence gags are things to 'look past,' and sometimes when watching Pasolini's films I think that some of the 'flaws' are actually done with great intent (although this deserves an essay and not a capsule). If you can't find at least a little tasteless delight in the ending - a depiction of Hell as a Bosch painting, complete with a devil literally shitting out other monsters - this isn't for you.