18th Aug2015

‘La Grande Bouffe’ Blu-ray Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Michel Piccoli, Philippe Noiret, Ugo Tognazzi, Andréa Ferréol, Solange Blondeau, Florence Giorgetti, Michèle Alexandre, Monique Chaumette, Henri Piccoli | Written by Marco Ferreri, Rafael Azcona | Directed by Marco Ferreri


La Grande Bouffe is a film about food, about decadence and about over indulgence. Not knowing much about the film before watching it, little did I know that I’d feel I’d been the one eating too much, just by watching the movie. Typical of an Arrow Academy release, Marco Ferreri’s film is an education, and one you won’t easily forget…

When four friends Marcello (Marcello Mastroianna), Michel (Michel Piccoli), Philippe (Phillippe Noiret) and Ugo (Ugo Tognazzi) meet for a weekend at Philippe’s villa they plan to eat themselves to death. Indulging in sex with prostitutes, and most importantly never-ending eating the villa around them decays as their over indulgence takes over.

In many ways La Grande Bouffe feels like a movie that Marquis de Sade would be proud of. With the inclusion of a teacher from a local school, Andrea (Adrea Ferreol) we assume that she would be the innocence that could help redeem the characters, but ends up just being as decadent as the four men, if not the enabler for their doom. The film works as an allegory about the over indulgence and decadence of the bourgeoisie, attacking what the filmmaker appears to see as its ugly nature and selfishness.

One thing that is easy to say about La Grande Bouffe is don’t watch it if you don’t like the eating of meat. There is an overabundance in the movie, as the meals use the food type as a focus. While the overeating feels darkly funny at the start, as the men start to get sicker the audience also starts to tire of the constant meals, until at the end you can’t help but feel you’ve been part of the dining yourself.

It comes as no surprise really that this movie is controversial to some, even after all these years. There is no real redemption in the movie for the characters; they are greedy, selfish and almost impudent in their need for decadence, acting very much like spoilt children when they don’t get what they want. This of course is the point, and exactly what the film is trying to convey.

Along with the film, Arrow have included documentaries and a commentary on selected scenes for the movie. These give an insight into the history of the film, giving an understanding of Ferreri’s focus when he was creating it. Is it an enjoyable sight to see these men eat themselves to death? Not really, but you can’t get away from the fact it is an interesting and captivating movie and it effectively attacks everything the characters stand for.

Well acted and interestingly told there are many things that you’ll take away from La Grande Bouffe, but it is a film where you will take your own interpretation away with you. Darkly comic and unforgiving in its style, Arrow Academy have released the film with impressive quality.

For fans of food there is plenty of it, and it does look impressively tasty. The characters themselves are ugly and decadent, with the food being the innocent tool for their deaths, never losing its beauty. The most filling film about food you’ll have watched in some time, just don’t plan on eating for a while after this one.

**** 4/5

La Grande Bouffe is available on dual format DVD and Blu-ray in the UK now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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