The world premiere of Jeff Beana‘s The Little Hours (Gunspower & Sky, 6.30), a nunsploitation comedy based on a tale in Giovanni Boccacio‘s The Decameron, happened at last January’s Sundance Film Festival.
I missed it by choice, although I did catch Margaret Bett‘s Novitiate, the other erotic-nun flick at Sundance ’17. But wait — I finally saw The Little Hours last night, or around 1 am rather, on the Macbook Pro. I did so in order to take part in a Little Hours press day starting at 3 pm.
The Little Hours is set in 14th Century Italy, but the actors all talk and behave like they time-traveled in from 2017 America. This is the basic joke — nobody’s really part of this realm, screw verisimilitude, pretending to be Italian nuns from 700 years ago will just get in the way, they’re just acting in Baena’s film for three or four weeks.
It’s not too bad if you don’t care that much. If you’re willing to just sit back, I mean, and say “fuck it…these guys are just goofing off, making a 21st Century American colloquial version as no one would pay to see a straight-faced version.” Or something like that. And they’re right — nobody would pay to see a 14th Century version.
The Little Hours Wiki synopsis reads as follows: “A young servant (Dave Franco) flees from his master (Nick Offerman) and takes refuge at a convent full of nuns.” Wiki doesn’t explain that Franco initially pretends to be “deaf and dumb”, and that he gets to boink most of the nuns. But he does both of these things.
The Little Hours runs 90 minutes, but — this is the interesting part — almost the exact same tale was told in ten minutes’ time in Pier Paolo Pasolini‘s The Decameron (’71).
A summary of the second episode in The Decameron reads as follows: “A young man, Masetto da Lamporecchio, is encouraged by some nuns in a convent to have sex with them. In fact, the young man already had this idea, pretending to be deaf and dumb. But the sisters prove insatiable, and the young man finally breaks his silence to protest that he cannot keep up with their demands.
“The mother prioress declares his sudden ability to speak a miracle from God, but this is merely an excuse to keep the young man at the convent.”
Here’s the entire Pasolini film — the hot-nun saga lasts from roughly 14:30 to 24:00:
Here’s a shmoop,com summary of the original Decameron story.