“It enters a hundred incredible worlds, where the camera has never gone before!”
Bizarre cultural traits from around the world are showcased in this early “shockumentary” film.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Native Peoples
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary labels this “once notorious film” as “exploitative” and “repellent”, but I disagree. As noted in a DVD Verdict review (no longer available online), the “Mondo” films (this is the first of several) actually “paved the way for opening up society to the difference in cultures, customs, and traditions amongst the citizens of the world.” Through nifty mise en scene, the directors force western viewers to recognize the strangeness of their own society, and to acknowledge the cultural relativity of beauty, food, death, and other universal experiences. Indeed, when cultures from all parts of the world and all social strata are equally “exposed” — as they are in this film — it’s difficult to argue that the material is truly exploitative.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Expert mise en scene — as when obese Tabarese women show off their portly beauty, in juxtaposition with westerners attempting to jiggle their flab away in fitness machines
Yes. While dated, it retains an important place in cinematic history.
- Controversial Film
- Historically Relevant
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)