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Pier Paolo Pasolini's epic three-film cycle comes to life in high-def like never before....
Criterion / 352 Minutes / 1970-1974 / Unrated / Street Date: November 13, 2012
The cinema of Pier Paolo Pasolini has never been easily consumed fare, but that's never the way the man wanted it. An esteemed poet, screenwriter, artist, director - Pasolini's complexity as both creator and man lent his output a distinctly unique verve: especially in the realm of cinema, Pasolini never intended for his audience to simply sit there and be entertained - he had more subversive and challenging interests in mind.
While the disgustingly inimitable Salo remains the director's one true gift to filmmaking, this new Blu-ray edition of his Trilogy of Life - featuring The Decameron, The Canterbury Tales, and Arabian Nights - is one of the year's most endearingly absorbing catalog releases. These three films are roundly considered to be among Pasolini's best, and they're existed in a kind of indistinct haze for the last few decades. In fact, to watch them now in pristine high-definition is, all cliche aside, like experiencing them for the first time.
And with Criterion lending the set a delicious slate of supplements that foster both historical and artistic opportunities to inform the movies with the marvelous complexity they so richly deserve, Trilogy of Life ascends straight to the top of the heap of the studio's 2012 output. The movies themselves may be too slippery to elicit easy, standard appreciation, but Pasolini's oblique aesthetic aims have never seemed so astute and profound (well, at least not since Criterion released Salo on Blu-ray...).