4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
a great 60s classic,
This review is from: Theorem (DVD + Blu-ray) (Blu-ray)
Theorem is an amazing visual experience, and seeing it on the big screen - or on a high quality screen at home, no doubt - brings out just how avant-garde it still seems. The main thing about it for me is its extraordinary tone, both serious and comical, often at the same time. It is highly original in this respect, constantly surprising the viewer with its breathtaking sense of the human face and how to use the camera, when to cut away and how to get the specificity of place and incident. It opens a bit like a Godard film, with a satirical interview of factory employees whose boss has just handed over the factory to their ownership, in which the interviewer answers his own questions, in effect. We then see the events that lead up to this extraordinary action. At this point it becomes something else - always about cinema and its power, but shot through a gay lens that places it quite far from Godard. The Terence Stamp character is a kind of Christ figure but without the prohibition on sexuality that Christianity usually entails. Here it is quite the opposite: he releases the desires of all the members of the family, plus the maid. His openness towards their desires is so in conflict with their assumed identities that they all go to pieces, although the exact tone of all this is highly ambiguous. There are so many sequences you remember from this film: Silvana Mangano in the summer house staring lasciviously at his discarded clothes, with her perfect make-up; the son urinating on his art, the maid becoming a saint, the speeches everyone makes before the stranger's departure, both slightly absurd and moving, Ninetto Davoli flapping into the forecourt with the mail like a human pelican ... Then there is the repeated landscape of taupe-coloured dust which blows into the air in wisps, and Mozart's profound Requiem, performed in a slow-paced version, set against some jazz by Ennio Morricone. Not forgetting a period pop song coming out of a sixties portable SP record player on the floor of the bedroom Stamp shares with the son - or so it seems, although actually it is just on the soundtrack as they get into bed and lie there in the dark, the son overwhelmed with temptation ... an inspired juxtaposition! It is a unique film, with the house element being a bit like Ozon, but working on a bigger canvas - in fact, it doesn't get any bigger than this.