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September 20, 2017

The Flesh

the flesh blu.jpg

La Carne
Marco Ferreri - 1991
Cult Epics BD Regions ABC / Region 0 DVD Two-disc set

Sex and food aren't very far apart in some of Marco Ferreri's film. And the men in Ferreri's films tend to indulge themselves to disastrous effect. For those who have seen Ferreri's best known films La Grande Bouffe and The Last Woman will see the recurring themes in Ferreri's film from 1991. For those unfamiliar with Ferreri, I would not recommend this film as an introduction. It's a relatively mild work from a filmmaker who cast the dark-haired Marcello Mastroianni as the famously blond George Armstrong Custer and recreated the famous last stand in the middle of contemporary Paris.

Paolo, a nightclub singer-pianist runs off to his beach house in Anzio with the very voluptuous Francesca. The two make love, and one morning Francesca paralyzes Paolo, leaving him flat on his back with a permanent erection. The pair also visits a supermarket where Paolo has a butcher describe parts of Francesca compared to the various parts of a cow. Francesca also attracts the attention of a young mother with twins, "nursing" one of them, as well as engaging in a threesome with Paolo and another woman. Several months go by, with Paolo generally happy in his isolation from society, while Francesca decides to move on.

Some of the political aspects may be lost for contemporary viewers. A plot point regarding a child's first communion is very specifically Catholic. Included in the very loaded soundtrack are songs by Queen, Kate Bush and Milli Vanilli.

The Flesh is more remembered for starring Francesca Dellera, a model and actress whose peak period was from the late 80s through the early 90s. Her handful of films include work with Tinto Brass, Sergio Corbucci and Jacques Deray. As a model, Dellera worked with Helmut Newton. While never completely nude, Dellera is seen here in various states of undress, as well as seemingly nude in a flesh colored dress. Dellera's co-star Sergio Castellitto has been seen to best effect in a couple of films by Marco Bellochio, My Mother's Smile and The Wedding Director.

Cult Epics helps put Ferreri's film in historical context with a brief look at Ferreri shooting a scene, interviews with Ferreri, Dellera and Castellitto, and footage from Cannes, where Ferreri frequently premiered his films. It is coincidental that just recently, there has been the premiere of a documentary on Ferreri. Reading about Ferreri's initial desire to be a veterinarian gives an autobiographical slant to Paolo's expressions of grief over the death of his dog, Giovanni.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at September 20, 2017 06:08 AM