Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mondo Cane 2 (1963, Gualtiero Jacopetti/Franco Prosperi)

After virtually creating the Mondo genre of films with 1962's Mondo Cane, the film makers quickly brought us two more similar films the following year - Women of the World and Mondo Cane 2 (aka Mondo Pazzo or "Crazy World").  Mondo Cane and Women of the World were wonderful documentaries filled with exotic locations, beautiful music, lush cinematography as well as bizarre rituals and practices from many different cultures.  It could be said that Mondo Cane 2 fits this description as well but it seems that the film maker's intent was different.  Read on.

Mondo Cane 2, like it's predecessor, is basically a documentary showing strange and sometimes shocking images from around the world.  It seems though that the notoriety gained by a few scenes in Mondo Cane was enough for Jacopetti and Prosperi (not sure what happened to Cavara) to cut out more of the fascinating and light hearted subject matter of the original and focus on the sick and twisted.  Among some of the segments included are a bunch of guys using their heads (literally) to knock down a metal door, a Monk who sets himself on fire in protest of the Vietnam war, a mortician school, and a horrific view of child slaves who have been forced to wear cruel devices to permanently deform them.

Mondo Cane 2 was a big disappointment compared to Mondo Cane and Women of the World.  Basically everything I loved about those films was gone (save for some great cinematography and exotic locations) and all the elements I didn't like were intensified and became the focus of the Mondo Cane 2.  Though not a fan of seeing real life horrors on screen (I prefer scary, gory and most importantly, FAKE), I was still curious about the Mondo genre and was willing to see what the fuss was all about.  I saw the first Faces of Death film a long time ago and some other similar real (or supposedly real) footage and thought I'd start from the beginning.  After seeing Mondo Cane and Women of the World, I was so pleasantly surprised that Mondo Cane 2 became even more of a disappointment.  Not only were there more shocking, sickening scenes but there were also faked or staged scenes.  Other vignettes in the film were just completely pointless or stupid (a bunch of people spitting paint on a canvas comes to mind).  So other than a few beautifully shot or interesting scenes, Mondo Cane 2 was a pointless disappointment.

RATING:  3/10

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