Repertory Picks

A Fresco in Madison

Starting this week, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Cinematheque joins forces with the university’s Chazen Museum of Art to cast a spotlight on Italian art. In conjunction with the Chazen’s exhibition Offering of the Angels: Paintings and Tapestries from the Uffizi Gallery, which includes works by Italian Renaissance and baroque masters like Botticelli and Tintoretto, the Cinematheque has curated a series, Italian Masterworks, to screen in the museum’s theater. The screenings in the program will be of recent restorations and new prints of classic Italian films. Kicking it off this weekend, on September 9, is Pier Paolo Pasolini’s picturesque and randy The Decameron, the first in the legendary director’s Trilogy of Life (coming from Criterion in November). It’s the perfect choice to head up the series, both for its teeming, painterly aesthetic and the way it foregrounds art within its episodic narrative. Pasolini himself plays a pupil of the painter Giotto, given the task of creating an enormous fresco for a church wall. In this scene from the film, the apprentice painter finds inspiration for and begins his colorful work.

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