Friday, August 21, 2009

Marco Ferreri- La Grande Bouffe

I saw this movie over the weekend on Netflix Instant Watch. It's what those Frenchies call a succes de scandale, that is, a book, movie etc. that becomes famous (among other reasons) because it's considered scandalous for its times. And I do remember that director Marco Ferreri was considered quite the bad boy, back in the day. For this and all his other movies. Since then we've had such things as Refn's Pusher 3, so that our scandalmeter has been re-calibrated.
Now. This is a movie set in France in 1973 with four major stars of European cinema of the time: as shown in the photo, from left to right: Michel Piccoli, Philippe Noiret, Ugo Tognazzi and Marcello Mastroianni. These prosperous middle-aged males gather at a large family home to eat themselves to death. Why, you ask? Ferreri (since he's dead and you can't ask, I'll answer) believed that Western civilization was decadent and over-consuming to the point of destruction. For no apparent reason.

Since he made the movie over three and a half decades ago, the untenability of our way of living has become more and more obvious. Not that this is really causing us to change our ways. Here in ostensibly progressive and "sustainable" Massachusetts, we are overrun with SUV's, McMansions, and hypocrisy.

All the famous actors in the movie keep their real names in the film, Ferreri's way of showing that this was Reality. Gourmet cook Ugo Tognazzi is so self-identified in the film that he actually wears clothes with his monogram, UT. Check out the Website set up by his kids, featuring recipes such as veal testicles in Pernod sauce. We're talking decadent here.

Michel Piccoli says significantly in the movie: everything in life is just an epiphenomenon of food. Hmmmmmmm. As much as I love my food, I don't know if I agree.

Watch it and decide for yourself. Recommended.