La Grande Bouffe (1973) (Blu-ray/DVD Review)
Directed By: Marco Ferreri
Starring: Marcello Mastroianni, Michel Piccoli, Philippe Noiret
Rated: UR/Region O/1:66/1080p/Number of Discs 2
Available from Arrow Video
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 activities with ladies of the night 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 humor has a further twist as the reputed actors (whose characters use their own names) buck their respectable trend for a descent into chaos that delivers a feast for the eyes and mind.
In this very strange, but still enjoyable movie, we have friends heading off for a few days of eating, eating, and even more eating. These guys are all very strange and have their own little gimmicks to them. Now all they do at first is just consume a lot of food until later on when they decide why not have a side of whores to go along with the food. So, from there it is a bit of an orgey, up until one of the characters, Phillipe, decides one of the ladies is worthy of being with him forever. This makes an interesting plot turn here, because outside of also going along with the eating, she decides to have a go with each guy, this makes the movie take an even odder turn. Now, this is an weird movie and a lot of folks won’t be thrilled with it unless they just dig weird stuff, but it is interesting and we do have a look at a group of very strange friends and their even stranger friendship. Keep in mind, with all the madness, this is still a comedy at the center of things and it is a funny one for the most part, to the film’s credit.
Now, all of that being said, I see no reason why this one had to be two hours long. It is funny and has some pretty neat scenes to it, but you could have accomplished everything this movie accomplishes without being as long as it ends up being. I don’t know why they let is get dragged out like it does, but it is a good movie that could have been a great movie had they just cut a little of the fat. I still will say if you like the stranger side of cinema, this is a weird and harmless one for you to seek out. It looks good for the age, which it should with all the hard work that went into restoring it. And, as I said above, there is a lot of really funny things here for you to get a kick out of. Especially the kinda darker moments of the film. That would be darker moments that still are topped off with a great deal of hilarity tossed on top of it.
– 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
Quality of Transfer: 89%
Screenshots from DVDBeaver