They've been called pioneers and geniuses, criminals and charlatans. For more than four decades, their movies have been both banned and acclaimed all over the world. Now THE MONDO CANE COLLECTION presents the still-shocking films of Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi, a body of work that has influenced everything from broadcast news to 'reality TV' and changed the face of cinema forever.
MONDO CANE is the original 'Shockumentary' sensation that launched the entire 'Mondo' genre, as well as its notorious hit sequels WOMEN OF THE WORLD and MONDO CANE 2. AFRICA ADDIO - here in both its devastating English version and rarely seen Director's cut - is the horrific portrait of the Dark Continent that ignited an international political firestorm. GOODBYE UNCLE TOM - and its even more incendiary Director's Cut - are perhaps the filmmakers' most controversial works, an epic depiction of the American slave trade and its brutal legacy that remain Among the most racially charged films ever made. And THE GODFATHERS OF MONDO is an all-new documentary by David Gregory on the films of Jacopetti & Prosperi featuring explosive interviews, never-before-seen footage, and much more.
Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi are widely considered to be the creators of the "mondo," the cynical and often exploitative '60s-era cousin of the documentary and the template for today's reality TV. Blue Underground compiles five of the pair's most controversial films in an eight-disc set (which includes uncut versions of two titles) that proves their images have not lost their power to shock and amaze. Journalist-turned-director Jacopetti and former naturalist Prosperi first teamed for 1962's Mondo Cane
(A Dog's Life), which explored strange customs around the world. The film (co-directed with Paolo Cavera) balanced its humorous and repulsive images with some genuinely beautiful ones and captured audiences' imaginations worldwide as well as an Academy Award for composer Riz Ortolani's theme, "More." Many critics decried the film, but a fleet of copycat mondos appeared in its wake. Enough footage was shot during the making of Mondo Cane
to allow for a sequel (also known as Mondo Pazzo
) in 1963; it was quickly followed by Women of the World
, which explored women's roles around the globe.
Tiring of the travelogue approach, the pair headed to Africa to document the unrest that had erupted in the wake of colonial abandonment. The result, 1966's Africa Addio, was acclaimed for its disturbing images but also earned the duo charges that they had orchestrated on-screen executions. Though they were eventually acquitted, Jacopetti and Prosperi's reputations was irreparably marred. They attempted to amend the situation with Goodbye Uncle Tom (1971), an overripe fantasy that transported them to the pre-Civil War South to explore slavery. Unfortunately, its horrific violence further turned off audiences, and the duo split soon afterwards. Though the early titles are somewhat dated, and the later films are often overwhelmingly grotesque, the Mondo Cane Collection is a powerful visual experience that avoid the sheer exploitativeness of other mondo and their modern offspring. --Paul Gaita