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STUDIO: Koch Lorber Films
RUNNING TIME: 188 min
8 page collectible booklet featuring an essay by Italian cinema expert Peter Bondanella
Four adaptations and a bio piece about Pirandello are put on film. C’mon people, try to fake some excitement.
Omero Antonutti, Margarita Lozano, Ciccio Ingrassia, Pasquale Spadola and Claudio Bigagli
The Sand People will be back and in greater numbers. St. Francisco of Cincetta always wanted to say.
Kaos is probably my favorite Taviani film. The brothers chose to adapt select stories from the 15 volumes of Luigi Pirandello’s Novelle. We manage to get adaptations of The Other Son, Moonsickness, The Jar and Requiem. The final piece is a look at the life of Luigi Pirandello that was crafted by the Taviani brothers. I’ve never seen this level of realism coming from the brothers’ work. It’s thrilling to see middle of the road directors stretch and develop into better artists.
We’re one pretentious image away from a Live album cover.
The Taviani Brothers put their skills to the test, as they adapt Pirandello’s Novelle per un anno. The film opens on a framing sequence that involves some men in the countryside belting a crow with eggs from a nest. One of the eggs burst open and a metaphorical bird pops out and carries the audience into the Novelle tales. The first tale The Other Son focuses on a mother who wants to mail her two sons in America. They’ve been gone for ages and have little to do with her. But, she won’t even acknowledge her son that stayed in Sicily.
The second tale Moonsickness is about a new bride who wants to cure her husband’s moon sickness. The kicker is that she has to do it by the next full moon. You’ve probably already figured out how that one ends. The third tale The Jar is about a cruel landowner who possesses a massive jar that holds olive oil. When someone breaks it, he hires a potter to mend it. The hunchback potter traps himself within the jar and the landowner decides to keep him within it.
Hiding from the Dwarf Army: Day Eleven
The fourth tale Requiem focuses on a Baron that doesn’t want his farmers to bury their dead relatives on his land. When a beloved older member of the farming community is about to die, the farmers revolt. The final tale Dialogue with the Mother closes out the film. Luigi Pirandello is shown returning to his roots, as he speaks with his mother at their ancestral home. The problem is that she’s dead.
Kaos is an interesting way to adapt obscure tales into interesting anthology. Pirandello is better known for Six Characters in Search of an Author, so a lot of people tend to overlook at the Novelle tales. It’s a shame, as they play with his personal wit and acknowledgement of Italian folk tales. The Taviani Brothers understood this approach and their whimsical style played to the strengths of Pirandello’s work. I just could’ve done without the unnecessary final piece about Pirandello.
It’s like The Searchers and The Godfather fucked. The first person who gets that, gets to choose my next random DVD review.
The film demands an open mind, as it’s easy for the modern viewer to write off what they’re seeing. But, if you approach it with an appreciation for Italian culture, then you’re going to find something different. It’s not Arthur Miller and it’s not the Grimm Fairy Tales. However, Kaos stands as its own beast. A look at the tall tales of Sicily and beyond.
Kaos comes to DVD with a decent release. Considering that the film runs over three hours, it was nice to see something get included. Even if it was just a booklet from an Italian film expert. I hope that you weren’t expecting much. It’s not like there was ever going to be a crazy amount of supplemental material for this flick.
The A/V Quality is pretty sharp for an older International title. There’s very little edge enhancement and dirt on the transfer. What kills me is that I know it’s Dolby Digital 2.0 track, but my receiver kept detecting some action on the subwoofer. I don’t know if I need to replace or if someone was trying to break up the front channels to push ambient noise in another venue. I smell a mystery.
In the end, Kaos celebrates the past of Italy. That olden times where anything was possible and the stories were bigger than the possibilities. In the past week or so, I’ve covered three Taviani brothers films and this is the most approachable. The anthology allows for a variety of style and tone, thus giving everyone their own way into the narrative. Hopefully, it’ll be enough to get you to try it out and go for a rental.
The Palermo Donkey Shows always took a little bit to get started. Antonio the Wonder Mule had to go out and make poops first.