Wondrous Boccaccio Screen 6 articles

Wondrous Boccaccio

2015

Wondrous Boccaccio Poster
  • [Wondrous Boccaccio] is awash in overt style, from the purposefully stilted performances to the loud, brilliant colors of the set design to the Tavianis' unpredictable, thrilling choice in music. In loosely adapting the titular author's The Decameron, the brothers have made an endearing and wise comedy about the art and ultimate utility of storytelling.

  • Eschewing a traditional narrative structure and character development for variations on a few themes (love, sickness, death), the film is meditative, lyrical, and distinctly anti-commercial, which makes it both exciting and unlikely that it’ll land any sort of significant distribution deal.

  • The Tavianis place the action—which ranges from the pathos of a woman revived bya lover's touch to the comedy of a craftsman who's the butt of a metaphysical practical joke—in ancient buildings and landscapes that seem to vibrate with erotic passions inflamed by the presence of death.

  • The Tavianis are less interested in bawdiness and irony, and more in pitting individual creativity and love against mob rule, panic, and repression. But their cinema remains very physical — the way characters move in their films often says so much, and in translating (and reinventing) Boccaccio's stories, they seem to have created something that borders on dance.

  • The brothers take a somber approach to the material, and the spare production design suits the stark choices facing the characters. Sometimes these attractive storytellers resemble the posed subjects of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, and their comportment helps make the filmmakers' case for art and discipline over chaos and despair.

  • [Its] imagery reminds us not only of the threat of death, but of the force of history, which eventually renders all people insignificant. Yet the film is hardly pessimistic; the Tavianis want to celebrate narrative art as a force as powerful as history or death. The wonder of Boccaccio, as the Tavianis see it, is that his stories remain vital seven centuries after they were written; those of us lucky enough to be on this planet can still derive meaning from them during the short time we're here.