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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Political > Foreign > Italy > Teorema (1968/Pasolini/Koch Lorber U.S. DVD)

Teorema

 

Picture: C+†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: C+†††† Film: B

 

 

Pier Paolo Pasolini is a director the world still has not caught up with.As much as the work of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, his work challenges assumptions of sexuality, wealth, class and the human condition and is often bold in doing so.After looking at two sets of his films from Water Bearer in DVD box sets they issued (both reviewed elsewhere on this site) and waiting to see if some early films would be reissued, Koch Lorber has issued his 1968 work Teorema.

 

Never before issued on DVD, the existential work involves a stranger (Terence Stamp) who enters the life of a bored middle class working family and finds himself quickly becoming intimate with all of them in sexual and intimate ways.Nothing about it is forced or violent, yet the result (even with the young man he has an indescript overnight sleepover with that has the young man suddenly pursuing the arts!) is to shake them out of their emotional and psychological comas.The film follows this to the end and instead of thinking about why the lives are altered and either shattered or improved depending on how each character reacts to him, there is a stupid debate about Stampís character.

 

Some try to say he is a god or satanic character, but in a more practical and deeper sense, he is simply a figure of easy masculinity and a man who has it in a unique way that he is a symbol for it.This is beyond Mr. Stampís sex symbol status as a worldwide film star at the time, but in what is now more obvious over 35 years later, character that is appealing in a way that is universal and not necessarily unisexual.Pasolini was no fool sexually open at the very least in his real personal life.Knowing what kind of actor heíd need, he could not use a more explicitly masculine person like John Boorman did with Sean Connery in Zardoz (1973).Instead, he needed an actor who would not be out of place in the bourgeoisie situation, yet able to transcend it at the same time.In this way, any omnipotence gained comes from a hidden animal potency that can stay hidden while being unmistakably there.It speaks to an absence of manhood and natural living in a bourgeoisie situation and what it can take to break through such plasticity.Too bad many people in it along with their denial of it (or any other such trap to boot) could not be shaken out of this state without consequences.Other films by the likes of Bunuel have tackled the subject, but not quite like this.Teorema speaks to that condition and how for many in it, there is no way out.

 

The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 x 1 image shows its age with some softness and a color palette that is sometimes off, but still looks better than most of the DVDs we have seen of his films, including the out of print Criterion version of Salo, his final film from 1975.The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also not bad for its age, with some fine music choices blending well with a fine score by the great Ennio Morricone.The only extra is a terrific one on Pasoliniís career called Pasolini & Death Ė An Intellectual Thriller that runs 53 minutes and not the same as the also fine special on Water Bearerís Pasolini DVDs.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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