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Teorema (1968)

A mysterious young man seduces each member of a bourgeois family. When he suddenly leaves, how will their lives change?
(NR, 98 min.)


Wednesday, June 21, 2023

7:00 PM

One of the iconoclastic Pier Paolo Pasolini’s most radical provocations finds the auteur moving beyond the poetic, proletarian earthiness that first won him renown and notoriety with a coolly cryptic exploration of bourgeois spiritual emptiness. Terence Stamp stars as the mysterious stranger—perhaps an angel, perhaps a devil—who, one by one, seduces the members of a wealthy Milanese family (including European cinema icons Silvana Mangano, Massimo Girotti, Laura Betti, and Anne Wiazemsky), precipitating an existential crisis in each of their lives. Unfolding nearly wordlessly in a procession of sacred and profane images, this tantalizing metaphysical riddle—blocked from exhibition by the Catholic Church for degeneracy—is at once a blistering Marxist treatise on sex, religion, and art and a primal scream into the void. [Janus]

Starring: Silvana Mangano, Terence Stamp, Massimo Girotti
Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Language: Italian
Genre(s): Drama, Mystery

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"The film, made in 1968, was provocative then and remains so now."

— Derek Malcolm London, Evening Standard

"Whichever of the various interpretations you ascribe to this socio-political parody, the quality is undeniable."

— David Parkinson, Empire Magazine

"Apart from his final feature, Salo, this is probably Pier Paolo Pasolini's most controversial film, and to my mind one of his very best."

— Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

"The movie itself is the message, a series of cool, beautiful, often enigmatic scenes that flow one into another with the rhythm of blank verse."

— Vincent Canby, New York Times

"It is as if Pasolini has imagined how Italy's bland, complacent, stagnant governing class could be blown wide open: like putting a hundredweight of dynamite in the San Andreas fault."

— Peter Bradshaw, Guardian