This is the second in a series of uncut versions of Pasolini's final films the BFI is releasing on DVD uncut. After the shocking impact of his last film, the formerly banned 'Salo', this playful (if sexually graphic) comedy seems almost insignificant. Subsequent viewings, however, reveal great depth beneath its bawdy exterior - and his extended cameo as a fresco painter reveals a lot about his view of himself as an artist (the final phrase being particularly memorable).
BFI's disc of Decameron is as good as can be expected. The print (slightly more severely letterboxed than the 1.66 indicated, but looks accurate) suffers from the problems one would expect from the type of film - cheaply made using mostly hand-helds and cheap filmstock, and natural lighting rendering many scenes overtly dark. The post-dubbed sound is harsh and/or distorted, but ok. Of more concern perhaps is the fact that the subtitles are burnt-in (not digital like on Salo - although even these were not removable for some reason) - and in some of the more troublesome dark scenes the picture becomes so smudgy that it is difficult to know what is going on. This is clearly a fault of the budget, but anamorphic enhancement would have helped.
extras - biography, a link to BFIs site - nothing remarkable (although the liner notes are better than usual, and the packaging is more sturdy than that used for Salo).
But most importantly perhaps - this release marks the first occasion Decameron is availible uncut for home viewing in this country - and so comes highly recommended for fans of Pasolini and off-beat Italian film.