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Monday, May 5, 2014

275 of 1001 Movies: Mondo Cane (1962)

There are very few things you will watch like Mondo Cane, which seems to be like a freak show on film. Perhaps if you were someone alive in the 60's this would have been an interesting foray into the world that hadn't really been explored, but nowadays with the likes of National Geographic and the internet, well it's lost a tad bit of shock value, and with the inability to know what's real and what isn't it makes it that much more difficult to get into.

Summary: Mondo Cane is a shockumentary featuring a range of mostly "real" footage from around the world. Some scenes show awful animal treatment where snakes are skinned live, turtles losing their sense of navigation and dying, dogs being prepared for food, and even a huge pig feast. The other images aren't always quite as brutal but just as bizarre, like drunks at one of the busiest bars in Germany, and women in Australia that save swimmers. All of this is jumbled together with no correlation, but only to shock.


Acting: Who is acting and who isn't is hard to say. To be honest it sort of ruins the movie though to know something isn't real, even if it's just one thing. They never clarify which ones that are. On top of that the movie doesn't aim to impress with impressive narrative or storytelling. They could have tried better to make some correlating jump from event to event, but none is made. The only tie along is the narrator who sounds bored to funny at random times.

Filming: The movie is interesting in the ideas it presents, but I even went online to try to gain some basis for the events happening in the movies and could find little proof of anything that occurred in the movie. The movie also gives no credit to how it knows anything. Instead the movie spends uneven amounts of times talking about an array of things. Some are interesting and some are boring. When it's boring the piece seems to last longer than the interesting ones.

Plot: Well with no plot, and no theme to even tie the movie together it makes it difficult to even write a summary. The thing is I can understand the appeal of the movie...in the 1960's. With limited access to gaining information about the outside world all you might have had were magazines and finally a live movie showing these unknown events to the U.S. society. This movie even followed in a series of others that were themed in shock like this one. Nowadays though this movie doesn't quite have the weight it once did, which leaves me a bit baffled as to why it's taking a spot on the list. Perhaps it's groundbreaking in putting these pieces together, but otherwise, I was in range from boredom to interest in varying times.

I can't imagine that too many people rush out nowadays to watch Mondo Cane. It's entertaining at segments, and besides the endeavors into weirdness I can't see anything particularly innovative about the movie. It isn't like documentaries weren't around at that time. Plus, I think nowadays it's so easy to access these parts of the world through media that you will be underwhelmed to watch this, especially with the inability to know what is real. Many documentary film makers acknowledge this for being an inspiration though.

Rating 5.5 of 10.


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