La Grande Bouffe (1973) – Marco Ferreri

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This recommendation, following my screening of Pulp Fiction for Great Movies – 100 Years of Film was an odd little film, and decidedly dark.

Four friends, who all seem to come from different walks of life (how they met remains a bit of a mystery to me) have decided to gather for a weekend of debauchery centering around food and sex. And they plan to do one of them until it literally kills them.

There’s Marcello (Marcello Mastroianni), Michel (Michel Piccoli), Phillipe (Phillipe Noiret), Ugo (Ugo Tognazzi) and Andrea (Andrea Ferreol) as a school teacher whose appetites seem to outdo the hookers Marcello insists on hiring.

It’s a dark film, and it embraces its darkness, as each one of the characters confronts the idea that this weekend may very well be their last on Earth, and they plan to go out in a big way.

Eventually, the bodies do begin to fall, but not before various sex acts, meals, and a general sense of depravity set a comedic, but morbid tone.

This one is really not going to appeal to everyone, and a couple of times, even I questioned the fact that I was watching it. But, it’s on the list, and I wanted to see it through to the end.

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None of it really bothered me, I just found a lack of motivation about why they were doing what they were doing. They show up with the intention of eating themselves to death, but I never really learned why…

There’s a rather disturbing image towards the end of the film, when two of the gents have already met their fate, but instead of stopping their weekend there, the survivors place the bodies in a walk-in freezer, and while they eat, their dead friends watch them through windows.

That would be a bit unnerving for me.

The sex is more implied than shown, but there’s a lot of it, and the characters seem to want nothing more than to combine the two, eating and fornicating.

I did laugh, I shook my head a lot, and some of it flat-out puzzled me, but it was an interesting watch. I just wish there was more to it, story-wise.

And Mastroianni was apparently a very popular actor, he’s shown up in a few films since we started this blog…The 10th Victim, La Dolce Vita… I think I have 8 1/2 to watch at some point as well, so I’ll no doubt be seeing more of him.

What did you think of this one? Could you get into it?

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