The Decameron (1971 film)

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"The Decameron (film)" redirects here. For the 2008 film, see Virgin Territory.
Il Decameron
Il Decameron film poster
Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
Produced by Alberto Grimaldi
Written by Pier Paolo Pasolini (from Giovanni Boccaccio)
Starring Franco Citti
Ninetto Davoli
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Music by Ennio Morricone
Cinematography Tonino Delli Colli
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
West Germany 29 June 1971 (première at the Berlin Film Festival)
US 12 December 1971
Running time
106 minutes
Country Italy
Language Italian

The Decameron (Italian: Il Decameron) is a 1971 film by Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini, based on the novel Il Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio. It is the first movie of Pasolini's Trilogy of life, the others being The Canterbury Tales and Arabian Nights.

The tales contain abundant nudity, sex, slapstick and scatological humor. The film was entered into the 21st Berlin International Film Festival, where it won the Silver Bear Extraordinary Jury Prize.[1]


The film, shot in Neapolitan dialect at the behest of the director, offers a variety of episodes from the stories most characteristic work of Giovanni Boccaccio, and are connected by the sequence of a pupil of the painter Giotto (played by Pasolini himself) who arrives in Naples to paint a mural.

In the first story, Andreuccio of Perugia is cheated by a fraud Neapolitan which places him in a sea of excrement. The young man is found in the pulp by two thieves who are attempting a coup at a nearby church to steal the jewels of the corpse of a bishop who died a few days earlier. Andreuccio is persuaded and, with a brilliant ruse, manages to steal for himself even the most beautiful ring of the deceased.

In the second episode, a young man, Masetto da Lamporecchio, is encouraged by some nuns in a convent to have sex with them. In fact, the young man already had the idea of having hot adventures with the nuns, pretending to be deaf and dumb, but now he unleashes pure fun. However, the sisters proved to be very horny and insatiable. So, exasperated, the young man starts talking and cursing. The mother prioress announces that a happy miracle has been bestowed by God on the young man, but in reality this is an excuse to keep the young man with the other sisters in the convent to make love every night.

In the third episode, the commoner Peronella makes a cuckhold of her dimwitted husband. While having sex with the adulterer her husband unexpectedly comes home for a holiday. The adulterer hides in a large pot while the husband reveals that he has a buyer for the pot with him. Peronella quickly says that she already has a buyer and that he's inspecting the pot. The husband accepts this and goes to the pot room where the adulterer says that the inside of the pot is dirty. The wife tells the husband to clean it before selling it, and while he's inside his wife and the adulterer have sex outside. The dimwitted husband doesn't notice anything.

In France Ser Ciappelletto the merchant is sent to a deal by two of his friends. The man in his life devoted his soul to sin, seduction and profit, disregarding all moral and ethical values. In fact, God punishes him with a serious illness that forced him to the bed and then death. But Ciappelletto wants to confess and call a Monaco that tells a myriad of lies, consider making a true saint. After his death, Ciappelletto will be revered as a martyr.

In the story follows two lovers meet to organize a fraud against her parents and come together on the terrace. The next morning the parents of the girl are the two lovers naked, but recognizing the man in the boy a good match to earn some money as dowry, allowing his daughter to marry him.

Later, in Sicily the girl Elizabeth, attractive in appearance and possessing great wealth, falls in love with Lorenzo, a young employee of her brothers. However, her brothers discover their love and conspire to murder Lorenzo in order to save their family's honor. They bury Lorenzo's body far from home but Elizabeth is led to the corpse of her beloved through a dream. she has of Lorenzo. When Elizabeth finds the body, she cuts off his head and brings it back to her bedroom where she hides Lorenzo's head inside a pot of basil that she tends to every day.

In the next episode, the commoner Gemmata is deceived by a doctor into believing she can be turned into horse and then back into a human. So she decides to try, with the consent of her foolish farmer husband, to sow the fields without working much better. In fact, the doctor's excuse has been engineered to perfection so he can have sex with the woman, through anal intercourse at the time of magic ritual.

The last story involves two characters from Naples who agree to tell each other about Paradise or Hell when they die. After a time, one of the two dies. But the other is terrified of ending up in the Underworld because she had too many sexual relations with his wife. One night his friend in a dream, telling him that the place where he is, Limbo, not serving sentences for sexual acts.

At the end of the story, a pupil of the painter Giotto completed his fresco, on which the episodes of the film alternate harmoniously. The painting shows the Madonna and baby Jesus and brothers so happy they start ringing the bells.

List of tales[edit]

Further information: Summary of Decameron tales
  • Second day, fifth tale - A young boy from Perugia is swindled twice, but ends up becoming rich.
  • Third day, first tale - A man pretends to be a deaf-mute in a convent of curious nuns.
  • Seventh day, second tale - A woman must hide her lover when her husband comes home unexpectedly.
  • First day, first tale - A scoundrel fools a priest on his deathbed
  • Sixth day, fifth tale - A group of painters wait for inspiration.
  • Fifth day, fourth tale - A young girl sleeps on the roof to meet her boyfriend at night.
  • Fourth day, fifth tale - Three brothers take revenge on their sister's lover
  • Ninth day, tenth tale - A man tries to seduce the wife of his friend.
  • Seventh day, tenth tale - Two friends make a pact to find out what happens after death.



  1. ^ "Berlinale 1971: Prize Winners". Retrieved 2010-03-14. 

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