• Admission: $5-$14
  • Location: BAMPFA
  • 2155 Center St
  • Berkeley, CA 94720
  • Time:
    5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

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Nov 25 2022

The Canterbury Tales


Hugh Griffith, Laura Betti, Ninetto Davoli, Franco Citti,

The scandal of The Canterbury Tales, the second in Pasolini’s literary trilogy, winning the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival had little to do with the film’s many bare bottoms and prominent codpieces, scatological effects, and almost obsessive copulation. It is visually splendid and shot in authentic English locations; studded with talent, from Hugh Griffith as Sir January in “The Merchant’s Tale” and Laura Betti as the Wife of Bath to a Chaplinesque Ninetto Davoli in “The Cook’s Tale”; and filled with all the beautiful, young and rutted, old faces of Pasolini’s trademark nonprofessional actors (including the filmmaker himself as Chaucer). But the critics wondered what it was all in service of, and the film’s “erratic” editing and language problems (its overdetermined Englishness) only chafed. Then again, this is Pasolini. Should sexual license be, in his Marxist terms, “consumable”? As noted at the beginning, “Between a jest and a joke, many a truth can be told.”

Judy Bloch

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