Movie Review: Teorema

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International
Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema features a young Terence Stamp called "The Visitor", who is staying with a wealthy family in Milan. One by one each of the family members, husband, wife, son and daughter are so enraptured by him that they wind up seducing him – even the servant. One day The Visitor receives a telegram and tells them he has to go away. His short time with each of the family members creates such longing that none of them are ever the same again. Most markedly the servant played by Laura Betti returns to her hometown. She sits on a bench and stares into space. The villagers start a vigil around her. Her Spartan diet of nettle leaves and her levitation on the roof of her home convince them that she is a holy person. The mother Lucia played by Sylvia Mangano starts to pick up young men to have brief encounters. Paolo, the father, played by Massimo Girotti gives away his factory. He undresses in a train station and tries to pick up men later wandering through the desert. The daughter Odetta played by the young art house actress Anne Wiazemsky becomes catatonic, while the son Pietro - Andrés José Cruz Soublette takes up art. The Visitor is a Christ like figure. He is humble, has no demands and is completely unselfish. His brief presence in all of their lives changes them so completely they can never live as they have lived before. Pasolini indicts the bourgeois family as the site for neurosis and twisted life plans. Here The Visitor liberates sexual inhibitions and the families life urge is awoken. The film begins with Paolo addressing workers at his factory. His own family like his workers are repressed and live their lives like automatons, going through the motions of daily living but not really present. Their large spacious home with functional furniture seems more like a prison. Though each of them reacts to the absence of The Visitor, only the son puts his energy to creative use. All recognize that material things are meaningless possessions, but Pietro embarks on a journey of self-discovery. The servant who has taken care of the family evolves on a transcendental level and discovers her deeply spiritual capacity. Teorema makes you feel that we all have the opportunity to do more but are stuck - only a spiritual experience perhaps can make us profoundly change

For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan, Stockholm SWEDEN
More Information:
Italy - 1968