Wondrous Boccaccio – A Must Watch For All Medievalists

The annual Göteborg Film Festival has began for 2016 with over 450 films to choose from all in all. Every year they have a focus, this years it’s on Italy so there’s more than a dozen special film from there. As a lover of all things medieval,poetic and beautiful I choose Wondrous Boccaccio as my first stop.

Remember the time we spent in this house.

In the 13th century while the plague is taking lives throughout Tuscany a group of young people head up the hills around Florence in order to stay alive and keep a low profile. Every inch of this film is in wonderfully toned colors, just like the medieval times were, and not dark in style as people might think. In this house they each share stories, which are loosely based on the stories by Giovanni Boccaccio (1313 – 1375). These stories are like films within the film, also based in the same era. These stories make up the drama contrast and embody everything from dark subtle comedy, love and passion stories. It is sort of like an Italian Kytice. Each one of these short films within the film dragged me in and I was enjoying cinema for real!

The film is elegant even in portraying tragedy or evil. There is such a simple vividness between the sounds, the cutting and within the layers of the scenes. There is nothing overdone, I experienced it all as a breeze, complete within itself. The group of young people all have colors and the medieval beauty is so present in the clothing, colors and settings.

For me the film conveyed the image and fantasy that gets mixed with memories about those perfect moments, whether by oneself or in company, that will linger on till the end of ones life. Where love is the common thread. In the film Florence is in a valley below somewhere, dangerous and hostile during the black death. That sort of symbolizes the escapism these moments or memories represent. Another thing I liked was that the scenes never got obscene with the violence, nor sex. It’s a good thing to invoke pain, suffering and passion on screen without being explicit and overdo it. Same with the comedy, it wasn’t thre to be overdone with either, yet more genuine and reserved in a sense. There is also a certain distinct feeling of location and architecture in the film coming from the elderly brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani who are native to Tuscany.


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