Kaos | Chicago Reader


188 minutes 1984

Paolo and Vittorio Taviani's 1984 homage to Pirandello isn't completely successful, though you'd hardly want to call it a failure. Based on a handful of Pirandello short stories about peasant life in the author's native Sicily, it moves fitfully between passages of feverish intensity—overarching visions of life and landscape passionately intertwined—and dull, meandering slackness (Taviani humor's the main culprit here). I suppose you could call the brothers' cosmic dance the neoprimitive equivalent of Pirandello's existential carnivals, but the images and emotions are uniquely the Tavianis' own, and no one this side of Sergio Leone tunes in so acutely to the ineffable poetry of objects: an open door, handkerchiefs tied to a tree, a forgotten shawl, the moon reflected in a pool suddenly become images of inexpressible longing. It's an uneven effort, but larger and richer than the sum of its often imperfect parts.

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