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The Mondo Cane Collection: Mondo Cane back to product details

Fool me once, shame on me
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written by bakedpotato December 22, 2004 - 5:51 PM PST
0 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Here is what I was thinking during the first few minutes of watching Mondo Cane: 'Ok....here we go....don't know anything about this movie besides the fact that it's titled "Mondo Cane"....I have no idea what that means....can't even remember why I put it in my queue....hmm, the disc menu says this will be "a startling and incredible movie."....I highly doubt that, but we'll see, weirder things have happened....uh oh, here's a disclaimer saying what I'm about to see is "true" and some gibberish about how "the duty of the chronicler is not to sweeten the truth but to report it objectively."....my BS detector just spiked....(The Narrator Speaks)....wait a second....I know that voice....but from where and in what capacity?....oh yeah! It's the same guy who told me Faces of Death was real....well then, now that I know my leg's being pulled, I can try and go with the flow.' Too bad the flow is neither "startling or incredible", just plain immature. - 2 Leaves: One leaf for the 2 or 3 beautiful shots the filmmakers do manage to capture, along with the experimental-accidential pictures in the Extras and one leaf for the bikini girls whose curves are definitely real.

Not quite bying it.
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written by spalani October 18, 2004 - 11:50 PM PDT
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Well, it's an interesting film. Both compelling and pretty to look at. However: Realistic or authentic? I'm not buying it.

The scenes in which the animals are being killed are totally real. Everything else seems extremely staged, and badly. Watching the "male hunting" scene, the Australian "CPR" scene, the American "bug eating" scene, the Japanese "beef massaging" scene, I had a hard time beliving that any of it was real. Many (most? all?) of the people on screen are acting... It's possible that the film is basing itself on real events, but the presentation feels completly staged.

I think that the filmmakers set out to create an entertaining and exotic film. They definitely succeed, for a 1966 audience. In 2004, their film feels like a fun curiosity, but not a true journalistic effort (though the filmmaker's introduction to the film begs otherwise).

This film is worth watching. The cinematography, the editing, and the narration are all wortwhile. However, if you've read National Geographic or watched the Discovery Channel in the past 10 years, you'll have seen things equally shocking, and probably far more authenic than displayed in this film.

For example, notice the underwater scene purported to be an underwater graveyard in Malaysia. Hmm, only skulls and femurs (mostly skulls) occupy this graveyard. But perhaps most silly of all, the edge of the aquarium tank is visible when then narrator states that the sharks in those waters have become man eaters. Hoo-boy. Those sharks in tanks will defintely be keeping me awake in terror tonight....

Oddly enough, fans of mondo and horror will probably be somewhat bored. I overall enjoyed, but as a curiosity and as an important predecessor to modern reality cinema. Not particularly horrific, nor odd, nor disturbing to this modern viewer.

A Landmark In World Cinema
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written by EPetersen December 13, 2003 - 4:07 PM PST
7 out of 7 members found this review helpful
This legendary cult movie was released in the early 1960s, a time when the Italian film industry first became a major player in world cinema, as it began producing "spaghetti" genre films (westerns, horror, action, and exploitation) for international audiences.

Mondo Cane (the title means "A Dog's World") is the most famous of the early "spaghetti" movies and the first of a brand new genre - the shocking documentary, or "shockumentary" for short. Unlike most documentaries which are strictly educational and dryly narrated, Mondo Cane is strictly entertainment and features sensationalized narration. But its main selling point is its visual explicitness.

The theme of Mondo Cane is the exploration of cultural differences and how what is normal to one culture is shocking to another. Dietary differences are frequently showcased, with footage of people in foreign countries eating delicacies such as snakes, muskrats, ants, beetles, butterfly eggs, and even dogs. The dog eating scene was filmed in Formosa. A diner selects a live dog, and it is killed, skinned, cooked, and eaten. Makes me glad I'm a vegetarian.

Also shown are bizarre religious pratices, plenty of topless natives, a "man hunt", legendary Italian actor Rossano Brazzi mobbed by crazed women, Japanese masseurs massaging cows and feeding them beer, fat American tourists making fools of themselves, German alcoholics stumbling out of seedy bars, an artist who uses nude models as his living brushes and canvases, and much, much more.

Mondo Cane is pretty much an exploitation film in documentary's clothing, but it's so well done and morbidly fascinating that you can't help loving it. Normally, a film like this released in the U.S. in 1963 would have gone straight to the grindhouses and screened along with nudie-cuties and burlesque films. However, Mondo Cane's huge success, popularity, and controversy in Europe earned it a long run in legitamate art theaters and, in a heavily cut version, (with all the nudity and most of the graphic animal slaughter scenes removed) in mainstream theaters and drive-ins.

This DVD release of Mondo Cane is simply amazing. The print is the full uncut version, taken from the directors' master negative and digitally restored. Presented in its original 1:33:1 aspect ratio, this is a breathtaking, beautiful transfer. You can select between the original Italian language audio track (with English subtitles) and the English dubbed version. The Italian version is, of course, the better of the two.

Any serious film lover and film student should see Mondo Cane. This landmark shockumentary spawned a sequel and numerous other shockumentaries, some of which also have "mondo" in the title. The word mondo has become synonymous with anything bizarre or shocking, thanks to this legendary film. See it!


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