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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

( aka 'Il Decameron' )

directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
Italy 1970

The first of Pasolini's colourful, entertaining and highly erotic Trilogy of Life films, The Decameron tells ten tales of sex and death, involving lusty nuns and priests, cuckolded husbands, murdered lovers and grave-robbers. Mastered from the original negative, this release features alternative audio options and an original trailer, and also includes Pasolini's rare 1970 film Notes Towards an African Orestes.

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The trilogy of The Decameron, The Canterbury Tales and the Arabian Tales of 1001 Nights create a mythical world where the nature of sex can be explored. The bawdy nature of the original stories helps to do this, but the fact that the originals are made up of many tales is important too. An effect that increases during the trilogy is the use of the frame. In The Decameron we see Pasolini, playing a pupil of the artist Giotto framing a scene with his hands. In the next scene we se e the people in the frame turned into a mural. Even the colors used in the film are to suggest a Renaissance painting (contrast with the use of color in Dick Tracy to mimic a pulp comic's ink). Ignoring the content the trilogy are beautiful to watch. Bu t it was the content that shocked manv people, and is the reason why The Decameron is still on the Vatican's black list. Those on the right were shocked by the graphic depiction of sex and those on the left were dismayed to find a lack of ideology. Pasolini answered them both with the comment that the 'ideology is really there, above your heads, in the enormous cock on the screen'. His justification for making an almost pornographic film was that he wished to show that it is bodies that are the most revolutionary things of all. They represent that which can not be codified. Yet it was clear that the people in the films were not sympathetic characters, and it becomes even more apparent in the later films, that these people are not really human, but sexual puppets controlled by instincts.


Excerpt Taken from the Review found HERE

Posters

Reviews                       More Reviews                         DVD Reviews                       Decameron Web

Recommended Books on Italian Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

Comparison:

MGM -  Region 1 - NTSC vs. BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

All DVD screenshots courtesy of Ashirg. Thanks Gregory!

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Cover

 

Available in a Dual Format Blu-ray package December 5th, 2011:

 

Distribution MGM Region 1 - NTSC  BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Criterion Spine # 632 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:50:56  minutes 1:51:15.251 1:51:14.709
Video 1.85:1.00 Letterboxed WideScreen / anamorphic
Average Bitrate: 5.4 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,301,449,286 bytes

Feature: 32,112,297,408 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Average Bitrate: 38.45 Mbps

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,312,491,240 bytes

Feature: 32,169,965,568 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Average Bitrate: 34.49 Mbps

Bitrate: MGM

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)   LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps
2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio Italian 2304 kbps
2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio Italian 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None English, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: M G M, Inc

Aspect Ratio(s):
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1
  

Edition Details:
• Region 1 encoding
• Color, Widescreen
• Theatrical trailer

DVD Release Date:  November 5, 2002
Keep Case
Chapters: 20

Release Information:
Studio:
BFI Video

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,301,449,286 bytes

Feature: 32,112,297,408 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Bitrate: 38.45 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• Both English credits and DUB and Italian
• Notes for an African Oresteia (1970, 1:13:17 in HD, 1:33:1)
• Original Italian Theatrical trailer (2:30 in HD)

• 18-page liner notes, illustrated, booklet including essays, reviews and biography

Blu-ray Release Date:  April 27th, 2009
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 20

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,312,491,240 bytes

Feature: 32,169,965,568 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Average Bitrate: 34.49 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• New visual essays by film scholars Patrick Rumble and Tony Rayns on The Decameron and Arabian Nights, respectively
• New interviews with art director Dante Ferretti and composer Ennio Morricone about their work with Pasolini, and with film scholar Sam Rohdie on The Canterbury Tales
• The Lost Body of Alibech (2005), a forty-five-minute documentary by Roberto Chiesi about a lost sequence from The Decameron
• The Secret Humiliation of Chaucer (2006), a forty-seven-minute documentary by Chiesi about The Canterbury Tales
• Via Pasolini, a documentary in which Pasolini discusses his views on language, film, and modern society
Pier Paolo Pasolini and the Form of the City (1974), a sixteen-minute documentary by Pasolini and Paolo Burnatto about the ancient Italian cities Orte and Sabaudia
• Deleted scenes from Arabian Nights, with transcriptions of pages from the original script
• Pasolini-approved English-dubbed track for The Canterbury Tales

Blu-ray Release Date:  November 13th, 2012
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 13

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray - November 2012': We seem to be running short of time as this release will soon be available to the public - so, in-lieu of a full review of each title, we will post the screen captures and technicals with these details hopefully informing some of the quality. I agree with David from our ListServ in regards to The Decameron when he states: "Gary, the Criterion unquestionably most resembles the gorgeous original release Tech prints." We will report more at a later date - including on the, marvelous, extensive extras.

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ADDITION: BFI - Region B' Blu-ray - May 09': Obviously a lopsided comparison with a heavily boosted bare-bones DVD from 2002 vs. a spanking new Blu-ray from the BFI. It just goes to show how far we've come - digitally speaking. The BFI shows quite a bit more information in the frame and it looks good if fairly 'lighter'. It is transferred in High-Definition using the original 35mm negative which, although seems possibly faded next to the MGM DVD, produces a near perfect presentation on my system. Outdoor close-ups show spectacular detail and the grain structure is intact although some minor noise also exists. Colors are strong and the texture is wonderful. The feature takes up over 32 Gig on the dual-layered disc with a bitrate approaching 40 Mbps. It's hard to imagine it looking any better for the comfort of your home theater.

BFI have chosen to include options for both Italian and English versions. The latter starting with seamlessly branched English text credits and a DUB. One can also choose original Italian and both have clear and consistent linear PCM tracks. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu tells me this is locked to region 'B'.

The Blu-ray has some good extras. No commentary but generously included is Pasolini's, rare,1970 Appunti per un'Orestiade africana 1:33 - but in HD running an hour 13 minutes. There is the original Italian theatrical trailer - also in HD and a wonderful 18-page liner notes booklet with photos and “The Decameron” essay by Roger Clarke, “The Trilogy of Life” by Sam Rohdie, “The Decameron reviewed” by Nigel Andrews (from 1972), and “Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975)” by Geoffrey Nowell-Smith.

Great work again BFI - I can't wait to tuck into their Blu-rays of The Canterbury Tales and the Arabian Nights - released simultaneously and also Region 'B'-locked. It's an incredible time to be a film fan (and be region free for hi-def!)

Gary Tooze  

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ON THE MGM DVD (written in 2002): Both older BFI and Image discs originally used the non-anamorphic transfer in the previous incarnations of the film on DVD ( HERE ) . MGM did a brand new anamorphic transfer for this release.  Colors are accurate and blacks are deep, but there's grain in the print.  The print spots some specs, but nothing too major. After Salo discs, this is very satisfying release. Mono audio is without distortion.  The extras are limited to a very grainy anamorphic US trailer and optional English, French or Spanish subtitles.             

Gregory Meshman


DVD Menus

 

(MGM - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT)


 

 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE BELOW TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM


More Blu-ray captures

 

1) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


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Box Cover

 

Available in a Dual Format Blu-ray package December 5th, 2011:

 

Distribution MGM Region 1 - NTSC  BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 

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Gary Tooze