Pasolini’s I Racconti di Canterbury


Did you know that Pier Paolo Pasolini made a feature film version of the Canterbury Tales? Well, he did. And what’s more, he replaced all of the pilgrims with talking cheeses. I shit you not. Here is a translation of an excerpt from the script:


The cheese-board is displayed forth in goodly aspect. All of the old friends are there: Mr Stilton, Dame Gouda, good old Cheddar Chesterton, Miss Wensleydale, Cavaliere Gorgonzola, Roger Brie. Assembled are they all, like Chaucer’s pilgrims, or amateur thespians putting on their ruffs, rouge and puffs before treading the community centre boards. Oh, readers! Would that I could paint for you the fond bonhomie, the tender remembrances that are exchanged between these happy cheeses! Cheddar Chesterton recalls the time he was whirled down a Gloucestershire hillock and then snatched up by a sweaty schoolteacher. Dame Gouda remembers holidays in Sierra Leone. It is a gorgeous scene, friends, a heartwarming tableau. But listen! Their tales are just beginning:

Cheddar Chesterton is the first to speak:

Crumbly his countenance; yellow his cheek.

He clears his throat, every cheese has heard,

“Hark ye my friends to the song of a curd.

For negligible cheeses it suffices,

To slum it and mingle with Kraft cheese slices,

But from proud udder I originate,

Not a vulgar cow, of slatternly gait,

But a queen of bovines, a regal mooer,

Not walking kebab meat, doomed to the skewer.

Her udders like unto Venus’s bosoms,

So say the farm-folk who marry their cousins,”

At this point Dame Gouda interrupted,

“‘Bosoms’ and ‘cousins’”? Your rhyme scheme’s corrupted”

“Get bent” said Cheddar, and flipped her the bird

“I’ll tell it my way, the Whey of the Curd.

I was given birth by a milkmaid’s squeezers

Like Mary bringing forth the infant Jesus

And like J. Christ I reached maturity

Mouldless, tart and free from impurity

A handsome fromage, regent of the cheeses,

A lordly Minstrel among base Maltesers,

A golden eagle among rancid squawkers,

A high-class escort among cheap street-walkers

Apply whatever metaphor ye please,

But know, my friends, I was a shit-hot cheese.


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5 Responses to “Pasolini’s I Racconti di Canterbury”

  1. Banjo Fett Says:

    CWORRR!! That’s filthy! I’m off to have a grubby fumble with a Dairylea triangle.

  2. Banjo Fett Says:

    I ate a whole wheel of cheese triangles. I feel so dirty.

  3. johnlebaptiste Says:


  4. Banjo Fett Says:

    It’s the Razzle Readers Wives of cheeses.

  5. johnlebaptiste Says:

    Wurrrrgh! Fnaarrr!

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