A strange visitor in a wealthy family. He seduces the maid, the son, the mother, the daughter and finally the father before leaving a few days after. After he's gone, none of them can continue living as they did. Who was that visitor ? Could he be God ?Written by
This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #1013. See more »
Lucia (Silvana Mangano) sleeps with full makeup, thick mascara, and false eyelashes undisturbed. See more »
Your boss gave you workers his factory. What do you think of his gesture? Is he still the focus here?
Has he thus blocked all chance of a future workers' revolution?
Is his action an isolated case, or part of a general trend today?
Part of a general trend, I think.
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"There are only 923 words spoken in "Teorema" - but it says everything!", brags the tagline. It makes some sense, since Pasolini's film feels like a rhythmic visual poem with scattered dialogue. "Teorema" looks and feels like a haunting silent film integrated with sparse dialogue - failed attempts of communication and change among the characters.
A beautiful and enigmatic visitor (a young Terence Stamp, one of the intriguing, almost androgynous cult sex figures of the 60's, along the lines of a Udo Kier and others) seduces and then leaves each member of a bourgeois family. The father (Massimo Girotti, of Visconti's "Ossessione"), the mother (Silvana Mangano, "Death in Venice"), the daughter (Anne Wiazemsky, of Bresson's "Au Hasard Balthazar" and Godard's then wife), the son (Andrés José Cruz Soublette) and even the housemaid (Laura Betti, best actress at the Venice Film Festival for this performance) are all altered by the visitor's sexual presence in their lives, and each will try to find salvation or catharsis once they're abandoned. Their ways can be seen as an allegory of the fears and misconceptions of those trapped in their own conventions, and the tragic consequences of their failed attempts to get away - after the visitor, an hedonistic angel of death, tricked them with false hopes of sexual and emotional liberation. At least, that's how I see it - which I wouldn't dare to claim as an ultimate view on it. As enigmatic and haunting the images in "Teorema" are, they ask for repeated viewings. And just the fact that they give you enough interest for a second look, it's quite a feat. An interesting, cerebral cinematic exercise, to say the least. 8.5/10.
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