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Although mondo movies were first popularised in the 1960s, they quickly lost favour with audiences, partly through lack of material and partly because the genre reached a logical conclusion of "documentary" violence with AFRICA ADDIO in 1969. THIS VIOLENT WORLD was part of the resurgence of mondo cinema in Italy in the mid-to-late 1970s, which was spear-headed by the "rival" teams of Climati/Morra and the Castiglioni brothers. Both were intent on out-doing the other by showing increasingly graphic scenes of violence and sex, many of them faked but all of them amongst the most harrowing sequences ever committed to celluloid.
THIS VIOLENT WORLD is actually quite restrained compared with Climati and Morra's preceding mondo, SAVAGE MAN... SAVAGE BEAST. As usual, the majority of the footage is made up with animal killings of various types. We also get to see fakirs cutting off tongues/piercing themselves, tribal rites involving abortion, and other such "curiosities". The movie concludes with a seemingly real firing squad sequence.
Mondo cinema is certainly a weird concept and THIS VIOLENT WORLD maintains the genre standards admirably. Semi-racist commentary and exploitation/misrepresentation of other cultures aside, the photography is actually quite atmospheric and imaginative in places, and the De Angelis soundtrack is a good one. However, nothing can take away from the fact that this, as with most mondos, is inherently an incredibly boring movie. It is far more interesting as a strange example of the direction of the Italian exploitation film industry than as a film in its own right.
The most interesting aspect of this flick remains the obvious influence it had over Deodato's CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. HOLOCAUST was always intended to be a critique of the mondo school of film-making, but there are specific sequences here that are so close to Deodato's classic that it is obviously more than coincidence. The abortion sequence (where a woman is pushed out of a tree to induce miscarriage, and then a fetus is pulled from her and buried in the mud) clearly was an enormous inspiration to the similar scene in HOLOCAUST. In another scene, a group of native women bathe with a white man and fiddle around with his penis in curiosity- again, a scene that was included in Deodato's epic! It's interesting to see precisely where Deodato took inspiration for his critique, yet managed to work it into a narrative.
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