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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pasolini's Take On Chaucer Is Definitely Not For Purists.
It should be noted that this is not the director's cut that won the top prize at the 1972 Berlin Film Festival. That version ran 140 minutes while this one clocks in at 112 minutes. That's almost 30 minutes of missing footage which no doubt explains the choppy quality of the editing and the incoherent nature of some of the stories. I first saw this movie in the English...
Published on 31 July 2012 by Chip Kaufmann

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2.0 out of 5 stars C rated atempt for something what did not happened.
It is short of many things , it is crude and cheaply made . If it reflect situation of Pasolini it should be asked . The characters are flat and nudity is standing instead of wit and art. perhaps Pasolini missed English experience . It is good to see and think about it how it could be made a great art - but this is C' rated movie.
Published 1 month ago by Zdenek Hanzlik


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pasolini's Take On Chaucer Is Definitely Not For Purists., 31 July 2012
By 
Chip Kaufmann (Asheville, NC United States) - See all my reviews
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It should be noted that this is not the director's cut that won the top prize at the 1972 Berlin Film Festival. That version ran 140 minutes while this one clocks in at 112 minutes. That's almost 30 minutes of missing footage which no doubt explains the choppy quality of the editing and the incoherent nature of some of the stories. I first saw this movie in the English version when it played in U.S. theaters back in 1980. There was no NC-17 rating back then and so it was rated X. I watched as within the first hour virtually everyone walked out of the film. It seems that they were expecting a porno version of classic literature (remember GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES FOR ADULTS?) but didn't get the sex they were looking for. While there were sex scenes, it was the full frontal male nudity and the gay sex that got the X rating. That and the infamous ending which still has to be seen to be believed. Today it's interesting to note that in the U.K. the film now carries a 15 rating instead of an 18 yet it's still the same film which is definitely not for purists.

If you are familiar with the works of Pier Paolo Pasolini (who plays Chaucer) then the nature and the overall look of the film will come as no surprise. In addition to being a filmmaker and an actor, Pasolini was a poet, a Marxist, a gay rights activist, and a political agitator. It was the last two activities which led to his murder on November 2, 1975. He was 53. His films have a deliberately primitive style that recalls the films of D. W. Griffith and those of Italian Neorealism. Pasolini deliberately used non-professionals in many of his films to achieve the look he wanted and to get "unaffected" performances. The film was made in several of Chaucer's English locations giving the stories a real sense of verisimilitude. The fact that Sergio Leone's regular cameraman Tonino Delli Colli was also Pasolini's regular cameraman tells you that Pasolini deliberately wanted the film to look the way it does. The performances are uneven and the dubbing is occasionally haphazard but that doesn't take away from the film's overall effectiveness. Once seen it's hard to forget.

This BFI video restoration of the English language release (you get both the English and Italian language versions on the discs) is a vast improvement over the old 1998 DVD from Image Entertainment. The picture quality is excellent and the soundtrack has been cleaned up considerably and that's just the DVD. I don't have a Blu-Ray player so I can't vouch for it but I'm sure it's just as good, if not better. The soundtrack on both versions is still something of an issue but the dubbing of the Italian actors into English is way better than the British actors into Italian. No Italian can do justice to Hugh Griffith's voice or Tom Baker's for that matter. The one thing I don't understand is why the English written versions of the letters (part of the special features) weren't incorporated into the English print since they obviously have them. A minor annoyance but one that would be easy to fix. This is Part 2 in Pasolini's "Trilogy of Life" along with THE DECAMERON & THE ARABIAN NIGHTS (also available from BFI). All three are essential if you're a fan of the director.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chaucerian, 26 Sept. 2012
There are remarkable scenes in this film like in all Pasolini films. One has to suspend belief and drive on autopilot, ignoring the bits that grate and wallow in the bits that really, really magically work (for some obscure reason) as Pasolini is a very different director after all. Above all the film befits the bawdy tale as opposed to other rendition which have been brought in line with particularly uptight middle class sensibilities. So, if you have those it will shock and maybe even offend you. And all hail to that!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pasolini does Chaucer, 6 Feb. 2010
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This is truly a classic film one of the Greats of Pasolinini, interpreting and making Chaucer's Canterbury Tales sing out to us as real life characters spanning the centuries, and from the very different world of some of the Pilgrims portrayed. This is not an accurate translation of Chaucer but the most lighthearted and sinister exposition of the harshness and ribald life of Chaucer's time for very English characters to play. It is really good to see English actors strutt their stuff but the best of all is the Italian actress that plays the insufferable Wife of Bath. Part of the secret is that Chaucer's England probably was, in spirit, far closer to Pasolini's Italy than we like to think...When you play it be sure you use the English dubbing because the Italian version also available is definitely not as good.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Canterbury Tales for a Canterbury pilgrim, 8 April 2010
By 
Robert C. Leeson "Paul Leeson" (Adelaide, Sth Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This completes my collection if Pasolini's "Trilogy of Life". I had never actually seen this movie before and ordered it out of curiosity. I've really loved The Decameron since I first saw it 35 years ago, The Arabian Nights less so but still enjoyable. The Canterbury Tales has all of the fun of "The Decameron" and much of the light, despite the rain and mud. I thoroughly enjoyed it although I may never see Dr Who in the same light again!! Thw quality of the dvd itself exceeded my expectations. It may even have surpassed the bfi editions of the other two which I bought during a trip to the UK in 2005 and was certainly considerably cheaper.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars funny and sexy - and shocking, 26 Jan. 2015
By 
schumann_bg - See all my reviews
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This second film in Pasolini's Trilogy of Life doesn't quite have the narrative elegance of his take on Boccaccio or indeed of the Arabian Nights which followed it, and some of the tales seem a bit disjointed. This is no doubt because the film exists in quite a cut version, apparently. However there is a great deal to enjoy, starting with the recreation of medieval England that has both beauty and coarseness. The architectural settings are often aesthetically wonderful, with Roman cathedrals and cloisters and some beautiful landscapes. As if to offset the tendency to green fields under grey skies - even with evocative mists - the characters appear in some very colourful costumes, whose cut leaves little to the imagination all round. In fact this is probably the bawdiest of the three films, being the most scatological, but Pasolini combines this with some of the most sexy young lads who have never set foot inside a dentist's surgery - it is amazing how he found them. Their appeal is offset against their selfishness or coarseness in some of the tales, particularly the last ... but some of the others have more humorous outcomes. Pasolini himself features as Chaucer, while Ninetto Davoli reprises his clown-like role that was a high point in The Decameron. The crowd scenes are brilliantly handled and also contain some well-trained livestock that makes these moments look like a painting by Jacopo Bassano - all life is here, pele-mele, with sex and self-interest to the fore, largely, but what a pageant to look at, shot through with sudden shafts of poetry. The dubbing creates an unusual effect, as you get in his mythological films, as it is meant to be deliberately distancing. It is also informed by an early 70s feel, as if the actors were all singers in groups like The Doors, and had the long hair that fits so well for some of the characters, while others have short hair - the film is anything but schematic. The almost psychedelic bedspreads and floor coverings surely couldn't have been quite authentic, but the whole production is a resounding success because it rides roughshod over these things with its sense of rude fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars at times confusing but wonderfully evocative and funny, 9 Aug. 2013
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I see so many people voice their disgust at this film for being full of fart jokes but in that sense it is close to the source text which is rude and bawdy. if you don't want jokes about farts, bodily functions and sex then may i suggest you read dickens because Chaucer's text is full of them.

regardless of what some reviewers say this film is beautiful with breath taking compositions and beautiful costumes. it sounds wonderful too with a mix of unaccompanied singing, out of tune liturgical nonsense and street sounds.

my only real complaint is that it can sometimes be confusing for someone who has not read the source text. i watched this with my partner and had to explain what was happening at many points.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chaucer meets Pasolini, 25 Mar. 2013
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Perhaps the best of Pasolin's films the print here is better than anything ever seen before and well worth the cost.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An old friend, 4 Nov. 2010
By 
David Price (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
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We first saw this when it came out in 1972 and have not seen it since. It is so totally different from anything else that it is difficult to know whether you like it or not. Therefore the questions: "What is entertaining?" - YES. "Was it worth the price?" - YES. "Would we recommend it?" - YES. "Will we watch it again?" - YES. The conclusion is that we do like it and found it a good experience to watch it again after all these years. Buy it and enjoy.
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2.0 out of 5 stars C rated atempt for something what did not happened., 10 April 2015
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It is short of many things , it is crude and cheaply made . If it reflect situation of Pasolini it should be asked . The characters are flat and nudity is standing instead of wit and art. perhaps Pasolini missed English experience . It is good to see and think about it how it could be made a great art - but this is C' rated movie.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Repetition?, 6 May 2014
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Yes a good film but of course purists will object but it's a different medium. But director doesn't seem sure whether to make it modern or medieval. Or dirty and clean (in sense of environment). But stories are fun if not engrossing.
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The Canterbury Tales [Blu-ray] [1972]
The Canterbury Tales [Blu-ray] [1972] by Pier Paolo Pasolini (Blu-ray - 2009)
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