Dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini
This blog hasn't had one of these in a while, but I guess I've just been lucky in my picks. Well, this was pretty fucking unbearable. Just another Euro art film trashing "bourgeois" culture and being way too much for me. Somewhere along the way you realize that it is utterly and bombastically silly, so just strip away the 60s Italian sophisticated mystique and let yourself laugh.
At the beginning there's this sort of T.V. reporter/interview rant about bourgeois culture, and it raised my hackles big time. Then it turns into this weird, semi-silent movie where the main family goes about their lives, but you never hear anything they say. It's kind of enjoyable, actually. And then the "stranger" comes and ruins it. Played by Terence Stamp, the film never gives you any answers for why he's there, but all of a sudden everyone in the house is really horny. They all have this big "transformation" by his being there, and when he leaves, the whole household begins to fall apart. The sexually-awakened daughter goes into a coma, the wife who "was never interested in anything" becomes a huge tramp and starts to pick up guys on the street, the son goes all homo-artist, the maid becomes this divine force and can cure chicken pox and levitate, and most importantly (or annoyingly, depending how you look at it), the head of the household, a successful Milanese industrialist, begins to "question it all" while also starting to have some homo leanings as well. An then there's the desert motif. Good grief.
Stamp's character is supposed to be this angel, or maybe even God, and he's "opening up" the eyes of all the characters to real life. But he ruins their lives, so maybe he is the devil? Or maybe I just don't give two shits about any of this? Seriously, I was really only interested when people were making out/humping, and that's just 'cause it's sex. I do know this though: Atonioni did Italian bourgeois malaise a million times better than this.