Directed by Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani
Ms. Hen usually doesn’t enjoy watching extra long films, mostly because she can’t stand to sit in front of the TV for that long. She tends to stop paying attention when a film is more than two and a half hours long. She didn’t know if she would like this film, KAOS, for that reason, but she ended up adoring it.
The film is comprised of four tales and an epilogue which all take place during the turn of the last century in Sicily. There is also a prologue at the beginning with men screaming at a crow because the bird is a male and is sitting on eggs. The men told the bird that he is not a real man. One of the men tells them to stop and puts a bell around the crow’s neck and it flies away. It appears in the first tale, “The Other Son," and in between the other tales.
The tales are like fairy tales; they are not completely to be believed. In “The Other Son,” a woman has someone write to her sons who have left for America, but will not have anything to do with the son she has nearby because he reminds her of his father, the bandit that raped her. This short film has one of the most haunting scenes Ms. Hen has scene is a film: men are rolling something that cannot be seen in a type of contest to see who can roll the item the farthest, until it is revealed they are human heads. Ms. Hen was reminded of when she was in elementary school, one of her teachers like to say, “heads will roll.” She didn’t imagine it could be an actual visual, she thought it was an expression.
In the tale, “Moonstruck,” a young married woman’s husband becomes affected by the full moon and goes berserk. She tries to protect herself by having her mother and cousin stay with her during the full moon, but things don’t turn out the way she wishes. In “The Jar,” a rich landowner buys a giant jar to hold olive oil, but it cracks mysteriously in the middle of the night. He calls in a potter to help him piece it back together, but the potter accidentally glues himself in the jar. The short film reminded Ms. Hen somewhat of the book THE PEARL by John Steinbeck, about a giant object that is revered and puts everyone in awe, but in the end is the downfall of the owner.
In the tale, “Requiem,” farmers fight with landowners in order to bury their dead in the cemetery. They go to great lengths to get what they want. In the epilogue, “Conversations with Mother,” a writer goes back to visit his childhood home and sees his mother who has passed away and talks with her about the time her family took a trip on a boat and landed on an island of pumice.
Ms. Hen liked this film because it is similar to watching a series of dreams. The landscape is brown and bare and strange things happen at every turn. Ms. Hen kept waiting for odd events and they materialized. The characters are mostly peasants, with no education, but they all dream of a better life.
Surprisingly, there were no chickens seen in this film, even though the film was set in a rural area. There is one mention of a chicken in the tale, “The Other Son,” one man says the people who left for America sound like hens and say, “Pui pui pui.” Almost every tale has dogs or cats in it, which pleased Ms. Hen.
Ms. Hen was able to watch the three hours of this film and not be bored and walk away. She thinks that she was able to watch it because the different stories caught her attention and made it seem as if it weren’t that long. She gives KAOS four and a half feathers up because she likes to be reminded of dreams when she’s awake.