A mysterious young man seduces each member of a bourgeois family. When he suddenly leaves, how will their lives change?A mysterious young man seduces each member of a bourgeois family. When he suddenly leaves, how will their lives change?A mysterious young man seduces each member of a bourgeois family. When he suddenly leaves, how will their lives change?
Pier Paolo Pasolini's "Teorema" (1968) is a fable that tells how a handsome young man (extremely attractive Terrence Stamp "with the eyes of an angel and the grin of the devil") stays as a guest in the house of a wealthy factory owner and seduces one after another all members of the household - the maid, the teenagers son and daughter, the wife, and the father (in this order). When released in 1968, the film had divided believers and atheists as much as critics. Some of Pasolini's comrades-Marxists were also infuriated by this attack on their ideology. Many viewers were disturbed by its removing sexual taboos even though sex is handled very tastefully. It is more a symbol of connection and closeness to God (or it could be to Devil, we may only guess). Made almost forty years ago, "Teorema" seems to be simple and puzzling at the same time. It reminded me Ingmar Bergman's movies from his "Trilogy of Faith" which sums up Bergman's own philosophy regarding religion and God "God has never spoken because He does not exist". In Bergman's world where God does not exist, communication and understanding are not possible and everyone is locked in their loneliness like in a cage. In Pasolini's film, God sends his angel to a chosen family. He has spoken to them and known them but then he left them. Did they become happier? Is that possible for a human to keep on living like nothing happen after the encounter with God?
I watched "Teorema" for the first time few weeks ago but I still think about it trying to understand what "theorem" Pasolini tried to prove? I also was thinking about the films that were inspired by or reminded me a lot about "Teorema". I've mentioned Bergman already. Luis Bunuel with "Nazarin", "Viridiana"," Belle de jour" (1967) - the mother's transformation in "Teorema" reminds about the film immediately, and "Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie"(1972) come to mind. I was also reminded of Andrei Tarkovsky. The visual style, camera work and the use of music in "Teorema" seem similar with Russian Master's. His last film, "Sacrifice" may be the one closest to Pasolini's film.
I would never say that everyone must watch "Teorema". It is a very unusual film that could be easily dismissed as ridiculous and dated or it would be thought of as absolutely brilliant and mysterious. I have not decided yet but I can't forget it.
P.S. November 29, 2006 - It's been several months since I saw "Teorema" and now I believe that it is brilliant and belongs to the the best films ever made. One can meditate forever on its depths and mystery, and that's the sign of a great work of Art for me.
- Sep 21, 2006