Pasolini’s Decameron

I watched Pasolini’s Decameron tonight, a sampling of nine tales from the famed eponymous classic. The Decameron is a collection of 100 short stories written by Boccaccio in the fourteen century–it’s basically an Italian Canterbury Tales.

While Pasolini’s film was tagged as erotic, I found it far from salacious. I suppose some labeled it such due to nudity, in particular the frank depiction of an aroused young man’s majestic ruddy manhood. Not something you see at the local Cineplex (well, at least not in Southern New Mexico).

I’ve never been troubled by the lascivious aspect of adult movies, having been inured long ago by a cherished friend and aficionado of pornography. In college, his imposing collection of movies was shockingly diverse and disturbingly obscure (more on that another time). Consequently, I feel qualified to classify the Decameron as “bawdy,” an innocent yet candid celebration of sex and humor–an excellent rendering of Boccaccio’s stories.

 An erotic film would be In the Realm of the Senses, a fact-based Japanese tale of obsessive love. This film is as blunt as the Decameron in depicting nudity (featuring instead a liver-colored member). However the extended graphic scenes obliterate any pretense of innocence. Despite its unabashed portrayal of sexuality, this film is not pornographic. The explicit scenes illustrate the story of obsessive love instead of standing alone for prurient pleasure.

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