Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, Italy, 1984, 188 minutes

With a free adaptation from Luigi Pirandello's works, the Taviani brothers have constructed an ethereal odyssey into the Sicilian landscape. A highly fragmented film - with four stories and an epilogue - it brings together all the main actors whom the Tavianis had previously collaborated with, in a voluptuous naturalistic trip.

In the first story, "The Other Son", a mad woman (Lozano) repudiates one of her sons for she cannot bear the memories associated with the father of the child. Against a background of Italian immigrantion to America, she tells the horrific story of a bandit who used to terrorize Sicily. In "Moon Illness", the life of a newly-married couple is upset as the wife (Modugno) discovers that her husband (Bigagli) is an epileptic who had to hide it in order to avoid being stigmatized by his community. "The Jar" is a piece of delicate Italian comedy with Don Lollo (Ingrassia) an owner of. huge olive jar which breaks under mysterious conditions, looking desperately for repair. A hunchback (Franchi) gets trapped in it while fixing it and an agreement over financial differences seems to be out of the question. In the fourth story "Requiem", tenants struggle for their right to bury their dead mother, while the epilogue "Conversing with Mother" has Pirandello (Antonutti) sharing his childhood nostalgia with the ghost of his mother.

Kaos is a film of a glorious naturalism previously unencountered in cinema. Giuseppe Lanci's incredible photography, along with the mythical character of the stories and Piovani's unearthly music, ascribe to the film a kind of dreamlike fluidity. Aerial views of temples and castles on top of rocks, full moons with mystical power, vast stretches of land under the sunlight, and an almost purifying Mediterranean sea contribute to a deification of nature, something which is not new in the Taviani's work. Magically euphoric cinema with uniquely conjured images.

Review by Spiros Gangas
Taken from EUFS Programme 1992-93