The Canterbury Tales (film)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Canterbury Tales (Italian: I racconti di Canterbury) is a 1972 Italian film directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini and based on the medieval narrative poem The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. It is the second film in Pasolini's 'Trilogy of Life'. The tales contain abundant nudity, sex, and slapstick humor.
The adaptation is relatively faithful but often diverges from Chaucer. In Pasolini's version of the fragmentary Cook's Tale, Ninetto Davoli plays the role of Perkyn in manner clearly inspired by Charlie Chaplin.
Another tale is not derived from Chaucer at all: in it, two men are caught in an inn bedroom committing buggery. Soldiers burst in—this is several centuries before the concept of a police force—and arrest the two men. The one with more money (who was also the one on top, who was penetrating the other man) is able to bribe the soldiers to let him go, but the poor man is less fortunate: he is tried and convicted of sodomy—it doesn't occur to the judge that such an act cannot be committed by one person alone—and is sentenced to death. As o foretaste of Hell, he is burned alive inside an iron cage ("roasted on a griddle" in the words of one spectator) while vendors sell beer and various baked and roasted foods to the spectators. (Medieval executions were usually festive occasions for all but the condemned. They were thought to be a source of moral instruction and "innocent merriment," to use the words of Gilbert and Sullivan in The Mikado).