Mondo Cane

1579. MONDO CANE (1962-ltaly). COLOR. Directed, produced and scripted by CUALTIERO JACOPETTI. Here it is, the one and only original Mondo movie: a documentary (or, more appropriately, shockumentary) that offers a bird’s eye view of the most unusual rituals and customs in this great, big, bizarre and all too often cruel world of ours. You’ll see Italian villagers lacerating their legs with glass in memory of Christ’s crucifixion; New Guinea natives slaughtering pigs by bashing in their heads with large wooden sticks; Roman children polishing the skulls of plague victims; Singapore families awaiting the demise of terminally ill relatives who are crowded together in “death houses”Ñ and that’s just for starters. Often, what is one society’s poison is another’s cup of tea. Overweight American women pump iron to melt away pounds, while on the island of Tabar they’re not considered worthy of marriage to the king unless they weigh 300 pounds. In Pasadena, a cemetery houses the remains of the beloved pets of the wealthy (including such celebrities as Jerry Lewis, Vivian Blaine and Julie London); in Formosa, dogs are fattened up, cooked, and feasted on in restaurants. There’s no shortage of nudity and sexuality: topless New Guinea women cavort on a sun-drenched beach; naked models cover their bodies with paint in an art gallery, to the accompaniment of an orchestra; fierce Gurkha soldiers celebrate a holiday by dressing as women; Italian hunk Rossano Brazzi has his shirt ripped from his body by a gaggle of screaming women. Mondo Cane was considered quite scandalous when first released; its vast popularity spawned a series of similarly titled compilation films. You may also recall the film’s theme, which became a Top 40 hit. In English. 107 minutes. Exploitation