Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wondrous Boccaccio (orig. Boccaccio Maraviglioso) [2015]

MPAA (UR would be PG-13)  Fr. Dennis (4+ Stars)

IMDb listing listing*

aVoir-aLire (F. Mignard) review* (D. Catelli) review*
The Hollywood Review (D. Young) review

Wondrous Boccaccio (orig. Boccaccio Maraviglioso) [2015] [IMDb] []*(screenplay cowritten and codirected by Paulo Taviani [IMDb] [] and Vittorio Taviani [IMDb] []) is a wonderful SCREEN ADAPTATION / ITALIAN PERIOD PIECE that played recently at the 19th (2016) Chicago European Union Film Festival held at the Gene Siskel Film Center here in Chicago.

Set in and around Florence during the time of the Black Plague, it's based on the stories of late-medieval / early Renaissance Florentine writer/poet Giovanni Boccaccio's (1310-1375) [wikip] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] Decameron [wikip] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn].  Indeed, as in Boccaccio's original work, ten orphaned young people, expelled from the city (because members of their families had already died of the plague and they were thought to be contagious), pass the fortnight of their quarantine by getting together to tell stories.  No iPhones, no TV, the "mass media" of the time were simply "the stories" they knew, made-up and told ;-) ...

But what stories were ;-) ... Honestly, since these were YOUNG PEOPLE (in their mid to late teens to early twenties) LIVING THROUGH THE BLACK PLAGUE during THE LATE MIDDLE AGES ... call their stories Goeffrey Chaucer (of Canterbury Tales [wikip] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] [IMDb] fame) meets The Walking Dead [2010-] ;-)

The first story, told by one of the young women of the group, involved two young people of the time, madly in love.  Then she falls ill.  He's away, by the time she comes back, she's dead.  He finds her laid out in front of the altar of the country church.  No one else is there (everybody else seems to have been afraid that she was contagious and that they would die as well).  But HE came there, HE'S not afraid. SHE was HIS GREAT LOVE.  HE kisses her, and ... Sleeping Beauty-like (only this was BEFORE the "Sleeping Beauty" fairy tale had even come to be), SHE WAKES UP.  He takes her off the altar and the two go home.  NOW GOOD READERS, MIND YOU ... SHE WAS DEAD.  Now she's ALIVE (again).  SHE SCARES THE DAYLIGHTS OUT OF THE VILLAGERS.  One even, quaking with fear asks her: "What part of HELL did you come back from?"  She smiles, looks at him and answers: "I didn't come back from Hell, I descended back down from Heaven..."  And thus ended the story, told by an orphaned teenager expelled from her hometown (Florence) because her family was dead and the town feared that she was still contagious ...

Then there's a story (told by another one of the young women) of a strapping young nobleman (nobile) -- seriously, he looked like he could play the lead role in any number of Shakespeare's plays -- who's confronted by the mother of his child, demanding that he finally CHOOSE BETWEEN HER and his ... (PET) FALCON ;-) ;-) _ever_ on his shoulder ... ;-).  LMAO ;-)  ... "the toys" may change, but the story remains the same ;-).  And it proves _really, really hard_ for the "young nobile" to "let go" ... The falcon, who knows how this is going to end, looks so _sadly_ at him, and the young nobile tells his beloved ... falcon: "Oh PLEASE don't look at me like that" ("No guardame cosí!") ...

Finally, there's also a story told by one of the young men, about a young cloistered nun "from a convent nearby," who, well, falls in love "with the gardener" ;-)

This is SUCH A FUN MOVIE ... if one can get past the pesky subtitles (or gasp, learn another language, in this case, Italian  ;-).  And it's a wonderful reminder to all of us that young people are young people across all space and time ;-)


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