dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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An otherworldly visitor (Terence Stamp) serenely seduces and spiritually transforms each member of a wealthy Milanese household, in one of Pasolini's most provocative and formally daring fusions of sex and the sacred.


"Perhaps the most brilliant work yet by that strange director Pier Paolo Pasolini" (Roger Ebert). One of the key films of Pasolini's cinema in its fusion of sex and the sacred, Teorema stars a supernally sexy Terence Stamp as the Visitor, a god-like figure who suddenly appears in the unhappy home of a Milanese industrialist. (One critic claimed that Teorema is "basically a film about Terence Stamp's crotch," and the camera does seem to spend an inordinate amount of time focused there.) The Visitor serenely seduces each member of the household: mother, father, son, daughter, the maid. All are spiritually transformed by their sexual encounters with the blue-eyed stranger, and when he disappears just as mysteriously as he arrived, each develops strange ways to deal with the anguish of his absence. With the glorious Silvana Mangano at her most mask-like as the sexually yearning matriarch, Anne Wiazemsky insolently vulnerable as the daughter Odetta, and a stops-out Laura Betti as the crazed maid levitating in saintly ecstasy, Teorema illustrates, said Pasolini, "the vendetta of the sacred against bourgeois society." "In Theorem, Pasolini achieved his most perfect fusion of Marxism and religion" (Time Out Film Guide).