The Great Feast / La grande bouffe (Marco Ferreri, 1973)

La grande bouffe is a story about 4 friends who decided to get away from their respective families and friends, and have a major feast together. They ordered enough food and drinks to feed a small village for half a year and secluded themselves in a mansion nobody knew about. Quite soon they realized that female company would be a nice addition, and so one of them brought in 3 hookers, and then they met a young plump junior school teacher who was having a lesson nearby and invited her to join. For several days in a row all they were doing is eating nicely cooked food (one of the friends was a chef) and have sex; and not until the first of them passed away it started to become clear what this whole thing is really about.

Kind of a strange story, if you think about it: we don’t know what drove the friends to the decision they made, not in the beginning, nor when it’s over; all we see is the process, which is quite fascinating, of course. The atmosphere of the movie contains not even a hint of death, even after first corpses occupied their rightful places behind the glass. And it would seem that a hope of happiness would stop the madness, but no, the feast went on and on, till the bitter end. And the affection that blossomed right in the middle of it is probably the most uncanny thing about the whole ordeal. I would still have to comprehend this story, which might require another viewing or two, but I feel like it would be worth it.

In terms of technical implementation, I can only think of one thing I don’t quite trust: in real life preparation of all those courses would’ve required a lot of staff and a lot of work while in the movie it seemed more like they appeared out of thin air; but, of course, for the sake of the idea, it couldn’t have been done any other way. The acting is wonderful, same as the direction and everything else: there is nothing there that would interfere with the viewer’s process. All in all, this film is definitely something else, – something totally worth checking out. A very curious page in the european cinema.

Time: 02:04:21
Released in: 1972
Directed by: Marco Ferreri
Written by: Marco Ferreri, Rafael Azcona, Francis Blanche
Performed by: Marcello Mastroianni, Michel Piccoli, Philippe Noiret, Ugo Tognazzi, Andréa Ferréol, Solange Blondeau, Florence Giorgetti, Michèle Alexandre, Monique Chaumette, Henri Piccoli, Maurice Dorléac, Simon Tchao, Louis Navarre, Bernard Menez, Cordelia Piccoli
Entertaining quality4+ out of 5
Art quality:  5 out of 5

IMDB page: link

(v. 4.8)
®shoomow, 2017

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