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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

La Grande Bouffe (Arrow Blu-ray) - Don't Watch This Movie Hungry

This is the most fun I’ve ever had been depressed. It’s also the most hungry a movie has made me since either The Grinch Who Stole Christmas or Delicatessen. Here I am, watching an exquisite piece of Italian dark humor and the next thing I know, I’m raiding the fridge. How disappointed I was to open the stainless steel door to discover that I was going to have to settle for prepackaged chicken and cheese. No golden tiered cakes or beautiful pieces of prophetic deer or other fine meats. Just powered Iced Tea and the cold harsh reality that I would NOT be eating myself to death that night. Arrow Video has done us a true service in creating a truly remarkable buffet for La Grande Bouffe. I have rarely seen its equal. I have rarely felt such despair and such elation at the same moment while trying to quell my beastly urges.

The extra package is simply ravishing with delectable morsels of history surrounding the film and its creation. The newly commissioned cover art is handsome as is the traditional artwork on the reverse. The booklet helps to wrap La Grand Bouffe in meaning and gives the viewer proper perspective on this daring films’ place in Italian cinema (La Grande Bouffe is in French, filmed by an Italian director).  The screen is gorgeous with rich dark hues and bountiful detail preserving film grain and blacks nicely.

The hardest part of watching a movie that is this perfectly great completely with the proper balance of humor and sadness, philosophical jaunts down reality lane, pure shock and sexual exploit is not fully appreciating or understanding the context from which the film arouse. Having never heard of La Grand Bouffe before I was in the dark, thinking only that I was in for some light hearted version of Salo when nothing could be more untrue. La Grand Bouffe reminded me of what I adore about European cinema, non-Horror European cinema. When I was 17 I used to go this mom and pop video store in Hackettstown NJ called Strictly Video and the owner, Robert, would recommend movies of this caliber. La Grand Bouffe was like rediscovering Peter Greenway, discovering irony. Marco Ferreri paints Norman Rockwell paintings that die and break hearts.

You can order La Grand Bouffe now from Arrow. It’s complex and funny and it turns your heart strings into braised asparagus.

No subtitles for this particular trailer

From Arrow:

The most famous film by Italian provocateur Marco Ferreri (Dillinger is Dead), La Grande bouffe was reviled on release for its perversity, decadence and attack on the bourgeoisie yet won the prestigious FIPRESCI prize after its controversial screening at the Cannes Film Festival.

Four friends, played by international superstars Marcello Mastroianni (Fellini’s 8½), Michel Piccoli (Belle de jour), Ugo Tognazzi (Barbarella) and Philippe Noiret (Zazie dans le métro) retreat to a country mansion where they determine to eat themselves to death whilst engaging in group sex with prostitutes and a local school teacher (Andréa Ferréol, The Tin Drum), who seems to be up for anything…

At once jovial and sinister, the film’s jet-black humour has a further twist as the reputed actors (whose characters use their own names) buck their respectable trend for a descent into fart-filled chaos that delivers a feast for the eyes and mind.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
  Brand new 2K restoration of the original camera negative
  High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
  Original French audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
  Newly translated English subtitles
  The Farcical Movie – A French television profile of Marco Ferreri from 1975 in which the director discusses, among other things, the influence of Tex Avery, Luis Buñuel and Tod Browning’s Freaks
  Behind-the-scenes footage of the making of La Grande bouffe, containing interviews with Ferrari and actors Marcello Mastroianni, Michel Piccoli, Ugo Tognazzi and Philippe Noiret
  Extracts from the television series Couleurs autour d’un festival featuring interviews with the cast and crew recorded during the Cannes Film Festival
  A visual essay on the film with by Italian film scholar Pasquale Iannone
  Select scene audio commentary by Iannone
  News report from the Cannes Film Festival where La Grande bouffe caused a controversial stir, including Ferreri at the press conference
  Original Trailer
  Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx
  Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Johnny Mains, illustrated with original archive stills and posters



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