- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (24Hz)
- Audio Codec: Italian & English LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit)
- Subtitles: English
- Subtitles Color: White
- Region: B (Region-Locked)
- Certificate: 15
- Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
- Digital Copies: N/A
- Run Time: 98 Mins.
- Studio: BFI
- Blu-ray Release Date: May 27, 2013
- List Price: £19.99
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(The below TheaterByte screen captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray Discs and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.
Throughout his career, novelist, essayist, and auteur Pier Paolo Pasolini (Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom; Oedipus Rex; The Gospel According to St. Matthew) always seemed concerned with a seamless combination of the sexual and the religious. In his 1968 film Theorem (Teorema), adapted from his own novel, he occupies this same thematic space in an almost enigmatic and surreal story about a rich family, their maid, and a man simply known as “The Visitor” (Terence Stamp).
Arriving at the wealthy family’s home, the stranger quickly inserts himself into their lives and possesses a strange, almost supernatural seductiveness over all of them, male and female alike. He seduces each member of the household, not the least of which, the family’s maid, Emilia. After he works his will on them all and makes his way through each member, he leaves just as quickly as he came, leaving them all feeling empty. The seduction of their maid, in particular, seems to leave a peculiar, unsettled feeling with the rich family, as if they have been even more debased knowing this. They are left pondering what has occurred, and how The Visitor could have held such sway over them all. Was he an angel of sensuality, or, Lucifer, the bringer of light?
The film is philosophical from the beginning and almost nonlinear in its feeling. Not only does the The Visitor seduce the family, but Pasolini seduces us, the viewers, with a sensual use of the camera, teasing us with bits of flesh, beautiful faces, and the perfect curves of bodies. But always, as the whole film suggests, he reminds us that we are uncertain about our circumstances – a shot of a hellish, grey landscape might jar us from an arousing encounter, or a religious pondering may puzzle us.
Teorema won a prize at the Venice Film Festival and was subsequently banned on an obscenity charge, no doubt due to its fluid sexuality. Pasolini would later beat the charge on the grounds of the film’s “high artistic value”.
Teorema has been mastered in high definition from an original 35mm interpositive held by Channel 4. Some HD-DVNR and MTI restoration tools were applied to remove instances of negative sparkle, severe sparkle, tearing, and bad splice. The end effect of these applications on this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement from the BFI is a rather filmic, though decidedly grainy and textured image of Teorema that looks natural and detailed, with strong color saturation and superbly nuanced shadows.
The audio is supplied in the original Italian-language soundtrack and an English dub, both in LPCM 2.0 mono (48kHz/16-bit). It sounds about as good as a monaural track from 1968 can, supplying full dialogue and the minimal amount of noise or clipping.
A strong commentary and a re-release trailer are all that’s on offer on the Blu-ray Disc, but this is nevertheless a strong package of supplements from the BFI.
- Commentary by Italian film expert Robert Gordon
- 2013 Theatrical Release Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
- An interview with Terrence Stamp (34 Mins.; DVD Only)
- Booklet: This illustrated booklet contains a detailed essay on the film by Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, a review by Philip Strick, and biographies of Pasolini and Stamp
The Definitive Word
With its long, early silent passages, seductive camera work, and easy mixture of sex and religion, Teorema is classic Pasolini that only hints at the even more controversial works that were to come from this staple of art house cinema.
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