A bourgeois Italian family from Milanese is about to undergo the most intense and mind-bending experience of their entire lives. After allowing a perplexing stranger known only as “The Visitor” to enter their home, the family is taken aback by a feeling of awe, lust and yearning for their new guest. What ensues is a series of sexual encounters between the mysterious figure and every member of the family – including the mother, Lucia (Silvana Mangano), who is burdened by sexual inhibition, the troubled father, Paolo (Massimo Girotti), and the zealously religious servant, Emilia (Laura Betti).
Each person in the family has deep-routed issues that the stranger helps uncover and heal. Pietro, the son, is highly sensitive and overwhelmed by his emotions. He struggles with anxiety, low self-esteem and indecision, all of which are later replaced with a strong, impenetrable sense of confidence by the enigmatic guest. The devout maid is on the verge of committing suicide and plans on hanging herself with a hose when the stranger finds and consoles her. Moreover, he has sex with the naïve daughter, Odetta (Anne Wiazemsky), allowing her to break out of her shell and limited worldview.
The Visitor also helps relieve the mother’s sexual frustration and caters to the father who feels defeated by his illness. The stranger does this seemingly selflessly, without asking for or expecting anything in return from the family. What ensues is pleasure, fulfilment and unbridled joy for everyone in the house. However, this ecstasy soon turns into pain and horror when The Visitor leaves their home as discreetly and inexplicably as he first joined it. The family is left in grief and despair, hysterically seeking liberation and a return to their previous blissful state.
“Teorema inspires thought. It’s one of those films that you may never want to see again, but you should see at least once.”
“A heavily symbolic and highly intellectual look at the bourgeois milieu and the effect that a mysterious visitor, Stamp, has on one specific family.”
— TV Guide
Did You Know?
Although not as gruesome as the infamous Salò, Pier Paolo Pasolini admits that his entire project with Teorema was to underline the poetic qualities of “a world at its end”. The film is part of the director’s Mythical Cycle, which is comprised of three other movies: Oedipus Rex, Porcile and Medeea. Pasolini was charged with obscenity by the police and his film was confiscated. He was later absolved and released. Review our Gay Themed Films Here