In the bourgeois circles of Europe after the Great War, can anything save the modern man? Harry Haller, a solitary intellectual, has all his life feared his dual nature of being human and ... See full summary »
Max von Sydow,
In the late 1930s, in Ferrara, Italy, the Finzi-Contini are one of the leading families, wealthy, aristocratic, urbane; they are also Jewish. Their adult children, Micol and Alberto, gather... See full summary »
Vittorio De Sica
Christian (Robert Hoffman) and his girlfriend are taking a walk on a deserted beach when they discover a woman's body lying. A closer look proves that she's alive. The next day Christian ... See full summary »
In this allegory on capitalism, director of a known car corporation invites one of his employees to his country villa to give him the good news. He just got promoted. However, the old man is not what he seems and promotion has a price.
Italy, 1940: Carmen de Blasco is married to a fascist, but falls in love with a friend of her father Ubaldo, the young partisan Armando Zani. At the end of the war, their daughter Giulia is... See full summary »
Dalila Di Lazzaro
The place is Trieste and the time is 1927. Emilio Brentani leads a peaceful and uneventful life with his older sister Amalia. At least until the day he meets Angiolina Zarri, a beautiful ... See full summary »
Professor Preobrazhensky puts courageous experiences, trying to turn a dog in equal to in all of the person. As a result somebody turns out Doggies. Unfortunately, experience proves that it is better for dog to remain a dog.
Max von Sydow,
Gran Bollito opens with a message that "this is a tale of collective madness." In a film as willfully deranged as this one, that's putting it mildly. Shelley Winters stars as a psychotic Italian matriarch with a penchant for slaughtering her neighbours and boiling their chopped-up corpses to make soap. In a spirit to waste-not-want-not, she grinds up any bones that are left over to make biscuits for afternoon tea. The fact that all her victims are middle-aged spinsters played by men in drag (including - no, I kid you not! - that Ingmar Bergman stalwart Max von Sydow) only goes to show that Gran Bollito is well-nigh apocalyptic in its weirdness.
Ah, but there are deeper meanings at work here! Winters, it seems, was driven to madness because all but one of her children were born dead. Worse, she lives in Mussolini's Italy in 1938, and is tormented by visions of the upcoming World War. "What I have done is nothing!" She intones, and history is about to prove her right. Madly possessive of her one surviving son (Antonio Marsina) she will go to any lengths to keep him out of the army - or out of the arms of a sexy young dance teacher played by Laura Antonelli.
One of Italy's most gifted and under-rated directors, Mauro Bolognini here seems to invent a genre all his own. Gran Bollito is - in equal parts - a lush period epic, an anti-war message movie, a blood-soaked giallo and a hilarious high-camp drag show. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets La Cage aux Folles? Yes, but with elements of Coming Home and a Merchant Ivory frock flick thrown in. In one of her rare leading roles, the sublime Winters is a worthy rival to that other portly and all-too-plausible psychotic, Kathy Bates in Misery.
Her trio of cross-dressing victims are perfect in every gesture, and there's fine support too from Milena Vukotic as a simple-minded maid and Adriana Asti as a snooty neighbour. Antonelli's role is largely decorative, but she wears her Danilo Donati gowns with aplomb, and the very handsome Marsina gets a frontal nude scene. As usual, Bolognini does an impeccable job of evoking the look and feel of his chosen period. All the more mystifying, then, that he allows a cheesy 70s pop ballad to recur on the soundtrack.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?