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La Grande Bouffe

By Adam Lippe

Here’s the idea behind “A Canadian, an American, a Lawyer, and an Elitist”: Rhett’s favorite movie is Meatballs 4,  Shawn has an unhealthy fixation on Resident Evil, Richard scoffs at anything that isn’t pretentious and hoity toity, and Adam is a prick who hates everything. We all watch far too many movies, and spend our time analyzing them. So we each watch the same movie, write our analysis of them, and then go to a chat room to discuss it, unaware of what the others have written. A warning: if you haven’t seen the film we are discussing, it may not be best to read this article, because it is spoiler heavy.

As for La Grande Bouffe, since these essays were written in 2005, we were using the long out-of-print version of the American DVD from Image Entertainment as a source,  a disc which was unconfirmed with regard to its censorship status. The recent Koch Lorber release of the film has much better picture quality and runs the same length as the Image disc.


Analysis by a Canadian: Rhett Miller

If there is one thing that La Grande Bouffe teaches us about the bourgeoisie, it is that they are indulgent.  For over two hours, four idle riche eat and fuck, with permutations and combinations in between.  Why do they do it?  Initially it seems to be simply because they can, but later it revealed that they are doing it as a suicide pact.  Why they wish to commit suicide the film is much less clear about, but considering how much the subject has been mined previously by Passolini, Fellini, Antonioni and every other significant European director, let’s just blame it on the breakdown of communication.

The movie begins sloppily (that’s narratively, not edibly) as the four main bourgeois men speak of events we have no idea of or to characters we know even less of.  Phillipe gets jacked off by his mother, Marcello piddles around in an airplane.  There is little direction from the outset, other than that director Marco Ferreri wants to offend.  When the group finally all get together in a luxurious mansion, the plot gets a little more absolute.  They call up a few prostitutes, and then begin to eat.  And eat.  And eat.  This movie made me sick, not because of the debauchery or offensive misogyny (although there are liberal doses of each), but because of all their horrendous eating habits.  They eat and eat, from pizza to custard, but are never seen relieving themselves.  One of them gets covered in shit, but it is not his own, and considering they are in the kitchen the entire time, it is of wonder whose fecal matter it actually is.  But these guys make the glutton in Seven look like Calista Flockhart, and watching them constantly eat made me feel bloated.

Of course, I am supposed to feel this way, because the film is a visceral attack upon the upper class, much in the same way Salo is to fascists.  Salo offered a cooling distance though, Bouffe thrusts us into the indulgences of the rich.  The way the film melds food and sex is intriguing, positing both as empty pleasures.  Ferreri ties the two concepts together early, when Phillipe’s mom comments sexually how she enjoyed breast feeding her son, her feeding utters now sexual objects thrust in her son’s face.  The breasts are always an oral fixation throughout the film, but in different ways.  Then, throughout the rest of the film, the men alternate between eating and molesting prostitutes, the two activities both serving their functions of idle pleasure.  They rarely discuss themselves or their politics, using food and sex as topics to mask their isolation.  They discuss all the fine points of food, but only because they have nothing else to talk about.  The bourgeois in this film do not wish to know each other, but only to know their indulgence.

The metaphor for indulgence, if it was not made obvious by the endless scenes of eating, is solidified by an enjoyable mocking of Marlon Brando.  As one of the men riffs on Brando’s Don, Ferreri makes references to one of America’s ultimate figures of personal indulgence.  Because of his fame and money, Brando let his indulgences get the best of him, as his waistline went up nearly as many sizes as he had kids.  Sex and food seemed to have consumed one of America’s most legendary talents, and it was doing the same to the France bourgeoisie in La Grande Bouffe.

Ferreri uses Brando, food and sex all to highlight the destructive nature of rich indulgence, but never really takes it anywhere.  The characters just continue to eat and eat, getting as bloated as the plot.  Then they all die (one by farting, no less), and somehow this is supposed to be the ultimate attack on the upper class.  The film offends, surely, but for what purpose?  To prove that the bourgeoisie is corrupt?  The concept has been done to death before and since, and in much greater detail and by much greater talents.  It is as if Ferreri just followed in the footsteps of Fellini or Passolini, taking their themes but forgetting their character.  None of the characters in this film are developed, they are all just archetypal embodiments of upper class evil.  Ferreri would rather fart around (quite literally), rather than develop character, and in doing so, he tells us everything about the bourgeoisie we already know, only with more food, sex and flatulence.  Thinking we’d be interested in 135 minutes of motiveless gluttony is the film’s ultimate indulgence.


Analysis by an American: Shawn McLoughlin

There is a point in Marco Ferreri’s La Grande Bouffe where one of the characters does a silly imitation of Marlon Brando playing Vito Corleone in The Godfather. This is about as amusing as the premise ever gets; and what a shame that fact is. With a premise that is little more than Salo sans the violence there should be plenty more room for actual humor. But from how it is presented, there isn’t much more than that one joke to laugh at.

If not for the prologues, you wouldn’t be able to tell the characters apart. There is no explanation for their motivation to binge as they do, though none is really needed. Worse though is how the characters have little individuality. Perhaps it is very American of me to expect to have characters that have personality. Still, I am of the belief that film exists to serve two purposes; to entertain, and to provoke. This film doesn’t do either. All of this happens because the film is far too passive, and none of its characters once attempts to change that. If they get mad it’s because another is not eating, or because he isn’t dead yet, or because he shit his pants. After one of the characters hire prostitutes so they can get an interesting little orgy going on, they are soon forgotten and instead go back to the feast. There is one scene on a rooftop where a character is riding his bike around in a circle because it is tied to a post. This act of going around in circles is probably the best visual representation of how this film truly works.

The film is a satire to be sure, but whenever a satire continuously attacks the same target it becomes far too passive to hold, or even be worthy of, one’s attention. The similar characters don’t spend the entire first hour of the film forcing fine foods down their throats, but they do it often enough that by half way through the audience had better get the message. It’s about consumption. Alright, we get it. Did the filmmakers feel it was important to aim for the broadside of the barn for fear of not hitting it? It is about reveling in excess. Let’s play with a fantastic car but never actually drive it. There are many words that could be used to describe this film, but no one would call it subtle.

Peter Greenaway made a film in 1989 called The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover which may have been inspired to some degree by this movie. It too was about excess of food and sex, in the bourgeois conventions. In fact it seems that European directors, in order to gain critical acclaim, are required to create at least one film that is an attack on bourgeois principles. But without the surreal landscapes that someone like Bunuel might have added to a film like this there is little visual interest. It would have been an ideal canvas for him to use. But perhaps the flatulence would have turned him off, and he would soon be handling sexual obsession to a more satisfactory degree with That Obscure Object of Desire (which proved that having little is incredibly more interesting than having an excess of).

There may have been something lost in cultural translation that I am missing, something that would make this much more profound. Whatever the case, the message that the film clearly conveys is beaten into the ground with far too much redundancy. Maybe the prostitutes realized this as well, and that is why they left less than forty minutes after they arrived. They had no interest in the men, and neither did I. If not for the sake of this discussion, I probably would have left along with them, sharing the same attitude. At any rate, by the end of the film I was on the same level as the four gentlemen. I felt stuffed, I had more than my fill, and I was ready to leave.


Analysis by a lawyer: Richard Stracke

Watching La Grande Bouffe is an experience not unlike my first exposure to Pantera’s Three Vulgar Videos From Hell.  One is a French film about a group of affluent men who decide to eat themselves to death. The second is a 3+ hour catalog of the excesses of a now defunct Texas metal band.  While few would initially spot the similarities between these seemingly divergent groups, they (and the films that they inhabit) are at times nearly identical.  Although I will expand on these thoughts, the bottom line is that both films, while frequently entertaining in the “Is he really doing THAT?!?” sort of way, they feel shallow and overly impressed with their scenes of debauchery.

Bouffe begins by introducing the characters- a pilot, a chef, a television star and a judge. All suffer from various insecurities and enjoy a range of proclivities, but I never felt that I knew any of them.  They are, from what we gather, bored with their lives and ready to end them in the most decadent way imaginable- an orgy of women and Fauchon prepared delicacies. We gather that they have gathered for smaller scale escapades, but this time they are going all the way.  The film takes its time introducing the characters and that was the film’s least satisfying bit. It may have been intentional. After all, most viewers are there to see how far these men with go.  We’re not so interested in the worlds that they have abandoned as the territory they will explore.

The pace picks up as the deliveries begin.  For me, this was oh so exciting. Geese and venison. Pigs and ducks.  All could be put to fine use in an adequately equipped kitchen.  The plate settings and meals were no doubt exciting, but given the Fauchon pedigree, I was disappointed by the lack of focus on the preparation of the savoir-faire.  There were moments in the kitchen, but the vast majority was devoted to ingesting the dishes.  This does fit with the film’s themes of excess and gluttony, but I hoped that some time would be spent on the fastidious preparation.

Once the dinners began, the film revealed its Pantera connections. For those who have yet to be blessed with the experience, the videos are shot on the cheap by a crew who follows the band around backstage. They stage eating contests, molest groupies and make fools of themselves.  Deprived rednecks risk their health by gobbling sheet cakes and vile concoctions.  Fortunately, the characters of Bouffe or more discerning, but the end result is the same. A group of grown, arguably successful men indulge their animal instincts in order to entertain an audience.  Bouffe offers more of a social commentary that the band’s work, but it is shallow at best. You know the shtick.  They’re sick of their empty lives, so rather than the typical midlife crisis, they take things all the way. Unfortunately, other than a few details about their previous lives, we are given no opportunity to understand why they must do what they do.  Its unexplainable nature adds to the embarrassment and ultimately the pure physicality of the film’s scenes, but it does not make for satisfying after the fact analysis.

The introduction of the whores (and a lone school teacher) adds a new layer to the film’s excess. After all, lust and gluttony are not that far removed.  Again, although the indulgence is entertaining, I couldn’t gather much from it.  The director does make it clear that even women as lowly as prostitutes do not approve of the men’s plans.  This could be read as an indictment of the ruling classes and their decadence, but this was shallow at best.  Similarly, when the educator (another seemingly ‘good’ person) ended up staying in a place that disgusted fallen women, it could be read as an attack on the current French bourgeois educational system, but like everything else, it was only skin deep.

As the male characters begin to die off, emotions are mixed. Should we feel distressed, disgusted or relieved? I never felt much of anything. The deaths were among the funniest bits of the film (second only to the Brando scene), but again, meant for shock rather than anything substantive.  I adored Marcello’s dying look, the idea of a chef gorging himself on a pate trilogy while his fallen comrades looked on and the sexually battered judge collapsing after a breast cake and a complaint about second rate veal, but they are only instances of excess and attempts to shock the audience, nothing deeper.  Had the film sharpened its razor a bit and made the attacks more pointed, it could have been much more than a parade of disgusting excesses. As it stands, it is worth seeing if you like such spectacles, but ultimately, I felt it failed to live up to its true Bunuelian potential.


Analysis by an elitist: Adam Lippe

It is a curious endeavor to try to make a viewer interested in the deliberately destructive behavior of insufferable, boorish people. Usually, when an audience is presented with such figures, like with Lina Wertmuller’s Swept Away, and Mariangela Melato’s snobbish character, they can’t help but wish for them to learn their lesson and get their comeuppance. To get a sense of perspective of the world that is being presented, or at least the point of view of the filmmakers, we have to see how everyone else reacts to being condescended to or looked down on. In the case of La Grande Bouffe, Marco Ferreri only allows snippets of these men’s lives, humorously all using the actor’s given names as well, allowing us to draw our own parallels, and the only people who seem to object are the prostitutes, who aren’t appalled at how they are treated, rather, how much the men are eating.

This causes a bit of a disconnect since they aren’t likable people and they don’t act reasonably towards themselves or anyone else, but we aren’t give any real point of view to take. They aren’t comic slobs to laugh at, nor do they have any aristocratic dignity. They are overgrown children, but in a hairy, sweaty, creepy old man way, not in an innocent childlike way. The initial confusion about whether the judge is allowing his sister to “take care of him” and not his housekeeper, because she wants to “keep it in the family show that he’s never been allowed to grow up. Indeed, none of his behavior even resembles that of a person with any authority, or someone who has ever been in control of his own life, let alone someone else’s (“have you ever sent anyone to the guillotine?”). Since we are never given any plausible explanation as to why these men are going about eating themselves to death, his appears to be closest to the surface. This is the one time he refuses all outside influence and can assert what he really wants. Of course, when he gets to his “turn,” after the other three men have taken advantage of his weaknesses by sleeping with Andrea, and he seems to take the least amount of pleasure out of the entire experience, Marcello enjoys sex and cars, Michel enjoys his eccentric clothing, Ugo, his cooking, all he can think of is how he let them down, because they are alone in heaven. He complains that Ugo’s pate tastes terrible and even tries to get him to stop eating, betraying their pact in a rare bout of common sense, before eventually bowing to peer pressure.

Andrea seems equally susceptible to suggestion and fitting in. Her character is the one that makes the least sense. None of the men show any charm, yet she is swept out of her responsible, innocent world so quickly, so when Phillipe defends her sodomy at the hands of Marcello by saying “she does it out of goodness, not vice,” it belies her enthusiasm in the situation, and in general. Since the story seems to be entirely allegorical, the rich and powerful eating themselves to death out of boredom (perhaps because they are tired of exploiting the poor?), whatever point Andrea represents is a mystery. Is it the suggestion that beneath every prim and proper schoolteacher is a horny vixen just waiting to be released once she eyes decadent lifestyles? Is she the prostitute replacement (she is the one who immediately mounts the flatulent and likely homosexual Michel), because she has no qualms about jumping from bed to bed and is willing to engage in the gluttonous overeating? Or will she go right back to her regular life, writing it off as a weekend of irresponsibility? It appears more that she was simply needed in order to feed the last victim, who required the most convincing.

Ferreri’s conception falls apart because of her inclusion; she starts out as the most recognizably human and becomes the least, simply by proximity, not by being poisoned. But it isn’t as if she is egged on, other than when Marcello wants to drive her around. Her crying when masturbating Ugo seems quite false compared to what else we have seen of her. Since the other four main characters don’t develop any sympathy, nor interest (they are intentionally dull individuals), knowingly so, there is no drama in watching the inevitable and very little comedy. That leaves us with Andrea, who is more of a silly cipher as the movie progresses. If we cannot watch the film from her perspective, from the outside, or even the inside, we cannot connect at all.


The Chat:

Rhett Did anyone time whether or not the scenes of dinner time flatulence were longer than those in the bathroom scene in Dumb & Dumber?
Adam Far longer. There was one fart before Michel dies that goes on for 30 seconds.
Rhett So would we be correct in saying this is the most flatulent film ever made?
Richard I thought about it, and like Adam mentioned, they seemed far longer than anything I’ve ever heard.
Adam I would have been impressed, if I thought they were real.
Rhett When I saw those scenes I felt like I should be in a matinee theater with a bunch of laughing 8 year olds.
Adam Are they as long as in Blazing Saddles?
Rhett I believe the ones in Saddles had more amplitude, but less length
Adam and is this really the same audience? Because when I was 14 and saw Saddles, I thought that was funny, but not at 18.
Richard Rhett- that feeling was part of the reason why my essay discussed the similarities between this film and Pantera’s 3 Vulgar Videos From Hell.
Adam Certainly Bouffe would have been out of interest range at 14.
Rhett I have never been to Cannes, is that how old audiences are there too?
Shawn Yes, but it was not flung with an intentional target.
Rhett Yes, Dumb and Dumberer seemed to rip off the “There’s Shit Everywhere!” scene
Richard As far as the flatulence, was it meant to be funny (ala Saddles) or designed to disgust the usually bourgeois Picoli/Marcelloaudience?
Rhett Of course the latter.
Adam I thought of Ebert’s review of Napoleon Dynamite. “I’m told the movie was greeted at Sundance with lots of laughter, but then Sundance audiences are concerned with being cool, and to sit through this film in depressed silence would not be cool, however urgently it might be appropriate.”    And at Cannes, they are concerned with understanding a savage satire in the same way, when the reality is, I’m not sure there’s much beneath the surface in Bouffe.
Rhett As deep as Ferreri’s intentions were in those scenes they still came off as immature.
Shawn I never felt particularly disgusted by the flatulence, I only felt bad for the film. Particularly when they make more than one use of it.
Adam Maybe he just wanted to do a reverse Bunuel film? Where the hosts don’t want to leave the party. There’s nothing really preventing them other than a nagging lack of eating accomplishment
Shawn The film was so redundant, it could have been shown edited down to 30 minutes.
Rhett Well, it seemed to have a visceral intent, and after thirty minutes I wasn’t really disgusted with it. But after seeing them eat for two hours, I more than felt the sickness Ferreri wanted me to feel towards bourgeois indulgence.
Shawn I think Bunuel that he could have made the same material much more entertaining.
Adam He has.
Richard The repetition really ate away at my disgust. I never felt any contempt for bourgeois society, simply embarrassed for the actors.
Shawn I felt the exact same way, Richard.
Adam Is this the kind of movie that was scathing 30 years ago, but kind of exposed and tame now?
Rhett Well, it was more a gut-level reaction, like I felt sick seeing them shove all that fat into their bodies.
Adam I thought it was kind of a cheat that they didn’t vomit.
Rhett Or that they didn’t gain any weight.
Richard I think it could still be disgusting had it been sharpened a bit. It didn’t seem that the subject matter is no longer ripe. More that it just wasn’t used to full potential
Adam That’s a normal body reaction that only the blond hooker seemed to have. And that wasn’t from eating.
Shawn I never felt sick, but I certainly was “full” by the end.
Adam I think it’s been trumped by Mr. Creosote from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. That’s the same gag, brilliantly played in only 8 minutes.
Shawn It does cover the same material, Adam. I am surprised that I didn’t make that connection myself. I also think the sketch works on a more disgusting level. It is much more graphic though.
Rhett Did anyone notice the homage to Troll 2? That large piece of ham covered with the green frosting.
Richard I wish he had done more with the fact that their display sickened even whores.  He seemed to just let it go. I guess that’s in step with the over all shallowness
Rhett There seemed to just be a lot of pot shots at the bourgeois without any real development. Like the opening bit with Phillipe and his mom.
Adam That was his caretaker. It isn’t clear at first who the woman is.
Richard I assumed she was a nanny of some sort.
Adam But she shows the picture of his dead parents. And then they say later that it was his caretaker
Rhett It’s like Ferreri finished the film and thought “how can I make the upper class even more repulsive?”  “Incest!”
Richard I never knew why they were disgusted with their lives. It seemed to rely on stock ennui.
Shawn All of that opening material didn’t seem to match with the core of the film though.
Rhett Nothing about the characters was really clear. The caretaker assumed a motherly role and it became perverted.
Shawn But I wanted to mention that I found this comment in a Netflix review… “This movie is not the one I saw in 1973. It has been cut and edited so that there is NO explanation for the characters motives and actions. Also some of the culinary scenes have been removed.”
Rhett That would make sense, since the beginning doesn’t seem to have any order or logic at all.
Shawn I couldn’t find any “alternate versions” or anything though.
Richard Very interesting. I was disappointed in the lack of cool cooking scenes (and character development). Especially because Fauchon supposedly did the food.
Rhett It seems like without character development it is just Ferreri telling us that the bourgeois are bad, which is something we’ve been told in much greater detail in many better films.
Shawn And to a more entertaining resolve too.
Rhett It would have been cool if the end credits theme was played using a whoopee cushion.
Shawn Discreet Charm, That Obscure Object of Desire. I even think that The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, which had to have been inspired by this, was much better.
Richard you mean you didn’t love Marcello’s dying pose? That was a highlight for me. Of course, it was uber-embarrassing.
Rhett I was just in awe that someone actually farted themselves to death.
Shawn But there was more involved in Cook than this as well. I got as bored as the whores.
Rhett It would have been great if Phillipe stopped time and Marcello pissed on the food.
Adam It would have been better if Phillipe was Zack Morris… Would that make Marcello = Slater?
Rhett Haha… One thing that I was sad ended up going nowhere was the whole marriage to Andrea.
Shawn What would have been better is if they actually had sex with the food.
Rhett Since the marriage seemed to be akin to land ownership; in that once a shared good becomes a private one a commune is destroyed.
Shawn Because even though it was obvious, it would have been appropriate.
Richard Yeah. that character was the only one with much outside interest (the caretaker bit).  As it turned out, Andrea was just another pawn in the shock game.
Adam You took the marriage thing seriously? It seemed more of a joke on her that she happened to understand.
Rhett He seemed to be pretty serious about it
Adam She didn’t seem hurt when he keeled over but he knows he’s going to die, and it’s meaningless.
Richard I thought it was some way that he was coming to terms with his past
Rhett Very sad that Marcello would walk on his turf.
Richard So, maybe serious for him but a joke to her?
Adam Her character made so little sense that it doesn’t really matter.
Rhett She seemed to be sad when he died.
Shawn Well he did seem inwardly upset when she started sleeping with others.
Rhett Like initial shock at least, before pushing him away.
Adam She jumps on cock with such frequency and little prodding; it was a shock that she wasn’t one of the whores.
Richard HA!
Rhett She also makes a fine pastry dish.
Adam What are we supposed to understand about her?
Rhett Her fine bottom contours making for an expertly crafted pizza.
Richard Her character was another lost opportunity in that she was a supposed upstanding citizen who was in fact filthier than whores.  A better filmmaker could have gone far with that.
Shawn As a heterosexual American male of the 18-29 demographic, I wanted more lesbianism. Particularly since I was teased with it.
Adam Why did she turn to debauchery so quickly? There she was sucking on Phillipe without any effort.
Rhett The allure of the rich?
Adam And then screaming about how wet she was for Michel, as he suffers through his farting, even though he was obviously gay.
Rhett There are many masculine men who partake in ballet. Homophobe.
Shawn Haha.
Adam And makes out with dead friends?
Richard What about his little nipple revealing tight shirt? Pink, I believe.
Rhett That was cute. :-*
Adam Yes, all of that made the intention obvious.
Shawn [Damon Wayans]HATED IT![/Damon Wayans]
Rhett Do you all feel that Marcello killed himself because of his impotence?
Adam Can one really commit suicide that way? Freezing yourself to death?
Rhett And what did the car and his traveling aspirations have to do with the story?
Richard Nothing that I could gather. And, getting back to having a gay character… Another waste. They never explored how being closeted or whatnot led to his dissatisfaction.
Adam He got as far as the gates, unlike anyone else. It seemed intentional that Ferreri doesn’t show them driving any further than the gates. As if they got 40 feet, but then turned around.
Shawn I find the feeding less likely than the eating. But my theory about Marcello is that he was too stuffed and couldn’t move and that is why he was stuck in the car.
Rhett It seemed like there were a lot of attempts at metaphor, but since the whole thing was so poorly developed, it was ambiguous at best.
Richard Would hinting at all that have been shocking in early 70s Europe?
Rhett Like what of the scene with Marcello simultaneously groping Andrea and the statue?
Richard That was a low budget lesbian scene. Why use 3 actors when 2 and a statue will do?
Rhett The statue would never get soft, either.
Shawn If I believed that, it would be brilliant. I don’t believe I could eat and be jerked off at the same time. Too much of a sensory overload.
Adam We already had the fake lesbian scene with the kiss earlier but he wasn’t taking any pleasure in any of it. It was like duty. They all slowly lose their sensitivity to each of their 5 senses.
Rhett They all died in different ways, which is funny since they all set out to die by eatingone by freezing, one by ejaculation, one by farting, and the final by eating.
Adam The last three really died because of eating.
Richard Didn’t the chef just eat too much of that pate?
Rhett Phillipe dies by eating two breast-shaped mounds, just as his life began sucking on his caretaker’s titties.
Adam I hope they realized how little sense that makes. Just because you suck on titties, doesn’t mean milk comes out. Trust me, I’ve tried.
Richard Since there are 4 of us and 4 of them, maybe we can determine who is best aligned with each character
Shawn I was the blonde prostitute. Because if not for the article/chat, I would have left after the first hour.
Rhett Since the 4 characters are supposed to be representative of the bourgeoisie, why are all their names just the actors’ names
Adam A little wink to their success and riches?
Rhett Are they saying that they themselves are indulgent like Marlon Brando?
Adam Because all 4 actors had substantial careers in Europe.
Rhett Andrea was also her first name in real life.
Adam And only in her mid 20’s.
Shawn I thought it was a brilliant homage to The Blair Witch Project. Reverse-homage.
Richard I assumed it was along those lines. Also, to make the audience wonder if Marcello et. al really lived like that. It had a pseudo documentary feel not that they accomplished that level of believability
Adam Did anyone else think it would have been more interesting had they started eating each other, starting with the hookers?
Richard I was hoping they would eat Marcello
Shawn Like in Brian Yuzna’s Society.
Rhett Adam, when I read the synopsis on IMDB that is what I thought was going to happen. “A group of men hire some prostitutes and go to a villa in the countryside. There, they engage in group sex and resolve to eat themselves to death.” That would have been much more interesting had they eaten themselves.
Richard I thought cannibalism would fit in at some point.
Shawn That happens in The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, Adam.
Adam Yes, I’ve seen Cook, Thief, and that’s why it works much better.
Shawn I didn’t really think Bouffe earned it’s X/Nc-17 rating.
Rhett There was a fair bit of tit for 1973.
Adam And some vagina. And poo.
Shawn But it was no Salo
Rhett But it was before Salo
Shawn Then again, I don’t know if the ratings board really knew what to do with it anyway.
Adam It would have been an X for the themes and decadence anyway. Remember, Midnight Cowboy was an X and that would barely be an R now.  Rated R for “all that cowboy crap.”
Shawn Ha, that is true. Can we come up with other films involving food and sex to better result?
Adam  You mentioned Cook, Thief.
Shawn 9 1/2 Weeks.
Adam Belle Epoque, Like Water For Chocolate, Eat Drink, Man Woman
Rhett Those Girls Gone Wild videos where they cover themselves in whip cream.
Shawn Rhett wins.
Rhett Fatality.
Adam Jamon Jamon, if just for the croissant Penelope Cruz nipple sucking scene.
Shawn Flawless victory. It’s too bad this film lacks its own “croissant” scene.
Adam I think of La Grande Bouffe as a similar style failure as 2002’s Teddy Bear’s Picnic which was directed by Harry Shearer and had the Chris Guest feel and cast to it. It’s about rich people who go off and bond while they act silly. A total disaster of a movie and without any POV.
Shawn I actually remember seeing a trailer for that. And I haven’t even thought about it, or seen reference to it, since seeing it. Perhaps the thought of paying to see Morgan Fairchild and Alan Thicke made me want to strangle myself.
Adam In terms of La Grande Bouffe, I learned that I really want a bike that goes around in circles.
Shawn Much like the movie itself.
Adam What would be the explanation for the excessive repetition and length anyway?
Rhett Just to allow all the stuff to shock with its excess.
Richard Probably meant to make us angrier with bourgeois indulgence.  
Shawn I learned that prostitutes can not behave when presented with a large luxurious cake.
Richard Who was the movie made for? The people who would normally love T+A and flatulence wouldn’t set foot in a foreign film.
Rhett Well, the farting seemed to be dubbed into English.
Richard Most discerning viewers would be bored.
Rhett It was made for… Cannes.
Shawn I learned that school teachers fuck like rabbits.
Adam Don’t you wonder where she got all those clothes? She brought them with her for the weekend? Just enough for her nipples to pop out of each one.
Shawn Is it was/is at all common in Europe to take your class on a field trip to some random guy’s house?
Rhett Next stop, Polanski‘s!
Shawn Shawn’s note to all future movie directors… I want more celluloid and less cellulite… Thanks.
Adam If they have some strange type of tree in the front yard though, weren’t they in the middle of nowhere? Where was this school, exactly?
Rhett Answer: who cares?
Shawn Makes you wonder if they weren’t home if the fat teacher would still be back at school on Monday.
Shawn Nobody ever thinks of the kids. Tragic, really.  Adam – for the record you could see the neighboring buildings all the time. They really weren’t in the middle of nowhere.
Adam Dammit, Rhett, I need logic in my allegorical films about gluttonous rich people… I’ve forgotten, is there anything on the cook before he arrives on the property? I don’t remember any, but the movie kind of made me drowsy.
Richard Not that I recall.
Rhett I had to stop watching it because I had just eaten supper and at the half way point I thought I was going to explode Big Trouble in Little China style.
Adam I was actually eating chips during it.
Rhett You are more of a man than I.
Adam none of the food looked disgusting. In fact, it looked good.
Shawn The “Andrea” plate I could have lived without.
Adam The speed clam eating was probably the exception.
Richard Yes. I would have eaten almost all of the food. I was eating ice cream while watching. Andrea is definitely the exception.
Rhett Seeing Andrea eat that greasy drumstick is something I could have done without.
Shawn Seeing Andrea I could have done without.
Rhett I do not eat butter, sauce or anything fatty in content, so my repulsion is more of a reflection of my eating habits than anything else
Shawn I was reminded of Salo when one of the characters was screaming “MANGE, MANGE, MANGE!” over and over.
Rhett <—Proud Nilbog resident.
Richard I take it you are not a foie gras fan.

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By Adam Lippe

Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]

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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.