“You have filled my life with a total, real interest.”
A mysterious guest (Terence Stamp) at an Italian villa provokes erotic desire in all its inhabitants — including the mother (Silvana Mangano), the father (Massimo Girotti), the teenage son and daughter (Andres Jose Cruz Soublette and Anne Wiazemsky), and their maid (Laura Betti).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Bourgeois Society
- Italian Films
- Pier Paolo Pasolini Films
- Terence Stamp Films
Pier Paolo Pasolini’s enigmatic religio-political allegory (is Stamp a Christ figure, an emissary of the dark side, or a quietly liberating revolutionary?) falls squarely within his unique oeuvre of audaciously provocative films. Little overtly “happens” in Teorema, and even less is said; most of the film’s sparse dialogue occurs midway through the narrative, as each character reflects on how Stamp’s arrival has changed them, and the impact his imminent departure will have upon them (with responses ranging from “You’ve simply destroyed the idea I’ve always had of myself.” to “You have filled my life with a total, real interest.”). Otherwise, the bulk of the screenplay is filled with surprisingly chaste erotic encounters, and bouts of personal crisis — the most intriguing of which is Betti’s emergence as some sort of village saint. As Dan Callahan notes in his review for Slant Magazine, “It’s all very grand and vague and shapeless, filmed better than most of Pasolini’s movies, but indulgent and fairly meaningless”; DVD Savant accurately asserts that “viewers will need to already be riding Pasolini’s specific philosophical wavelength to appreciate it — for most it will be a slow and uninvolving experience.” Featuring a weird, often incongruous score by Ennio Morricone.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Effective cinematography and lighting
Yes, but simply for its historical importance. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book, though I’m not sure it holds that status any longer.
- Historically Relevant
- Important Director