Teorema

  • 1968
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

A heavily symbolic and highly intellectual look at the bourgeois milieu and the effect that a mysterious visitor, Stamp, has on one specific family. Into the life of a prominent Milanese family walks Stamp, an angelic-looking stranger (although Pasolini acknowledges that he may also represent the devil), whose spiritual sexuality touches each member of...read more

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A heavily symbolic and highly intellectual look at the bourgeois milieu and the effect that a mysterious visitor, Stamp, has on one specific family. Into the life of a prominent Milanese family walks Stamp, an angelic-looking stranger (although Pasolini acknowledges that he may also

represent the devil), whose spiritual sexuality touches each member of the household in a different way, elevating each to a certain level of grace. He becomes involved with Mangano, the wife; Girotti, the husband; Wiazemsky, their daughter; Cruz, their son; and Betti, the housemaid. Then one day

Stamp leaves as mysteriously as he arrived. The family feels the void, can no longer attain the level of spirituality that Stamp provided, and falls back into the worldliness of the bourgeoisie. Mangano tries to recapture that state by wandering the streets and picking up lovers at random;

Wiazemsky enters a catatonic trance and completely withdraws from her society; Cruz becomes an artist whose dissatisfaction with his paintings prompts him to urinate on them; and Girotti relinquishes control of his factory to the workers and wanders naked through a vast wasteland. Only Betti, the

maid, can survive without Stamp. This is because she, unlike the family that employs her, is from the peasant class and has a naive faith to sustain her--not only in Stamp's divinity but in what he has taught her faith can do. Instead of deteriorating, Betti returns to her village, performs

miracles for the peasants, and even levitates. For her brilliant performance (the rest of the cast is equally admirable), Betti was awarded the Best Actress prize at the 1968 Venice Film Festival. The film's release, like so many of Pasolini's films, was shrouded in controversy. The left wing of

the Italian Catholics gave the film an award for its "mysticism" while the Catholic right unleashed a scathing attack on the picture. According to Pasolini (whose self-analysis is usually more confusing than clarifying): "The point of the film is roughly this: a member of the bourgeoisie, whatever

he does, is always wrong . . . anything done by the bourgoisie, however sincere, profound, and noble it is, is always on the wrong side of the track." Pasolini had hoped to include Orson Welles in the cast, although he didn't make clear whether he would have had Stamp's or Girotti's role. In

either case, the mind boggles.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A heavily symbolic and highly intellectual look at the bourgeois milieu and the effect that a mysterious visitor, Stamp, has on one specific family. Into the life of a prominent Milanese family walks Stamp, an angelic-looking stranger (although Pasolini ac… (more)

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