BluRay/DVD Reviews


By • Jan 1st, 2004 •

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Blue Underground

An eight-disc set, featuring the complete feature work of filmmaker/documentarians Gualtiero Jacopetti & Franco Prosperi:

MONDO CANE – 1962. 108 mins. Full frame (1.33:1). Not Rated. Co-director Paolo Cavara. Music by Nino Oliviero and Riz Ortolani. Benito Frattari’s location stills. ‘The Unofficial Mondo Phenomenon’ by David Flint.

MONDO CANE 2 – 1964. 95 mins. Full Frame. Music by Nino Oliviero.

WOMEN OF THE WORLD – 1963. 107 mins. Full Frame. Co-directed by Paolo Cavara. Music by Oliviero and Ortolani.

AFRICA ADDIO, Director’s Cut – 1966. 139 mins. Aspect Ratio 2.35:1, and formatted for 16X9 screens. Cinematography by Antonio Climati. Music by Riz Ortolani.

AFRICA ADDIO, English Version – 1966. 128 mins. U.S. press book (DVD-ROM).

ADDIO ZIO TOM, Director’s Cut – 1971. 136 mins. Aspect Ratio 2.35:1, and formatted for 16X9 screens. Cinematography by Claudio Cirillo, Antonio Climati, Benito Frattari. Music by Riz Ortolani.

GOODBYE UNCLE TOM, English Version – 1971. 123 mins. Behind-the-scenes 8mm footage with Audio Commentary by Giampaolo Lomi. Still Gallery.

THE GODFATHERS OF MONDO – 2003. 90 mins. Director, David Gregory. Producers, Joyce Shen and Michele de Angelis. Executive Producer William Lustig. Archive Research by Matt Kennedy.

Many Mondo flicks came before (in the silent period) and many have appeared since (those TRACES OF DEATH films from Brain Damage are some of the latest variations on the theme). But the ‘originals’, paradoxically, came in between.

David Gregory, the premiere documentarian of the DVD age, has seen fit to create a Mondo overview for the collection in the form of a wry 90-minute insight into the Mondo-guys’ decade-long collaboration. Biggest applause at the NYC theatrical screening of the doc was for interview footage of composer Riz Ortolani, but for my money, the director/cinematographers deserve far greater credit. I know forces have conspired to discredit them – and those arguments are even-handedly presented in the doc – but who else was in Africa back then, knee-deep in a swamp of insane, ego-driven despots, going after those beauty (?) shots. Answer: only them. AFRICA ADDIO reveals a failing continent in the act of devouring itself. Whether or not the daring filmmakers coerced local warlords to put executions on hold until the cameras got there or not, the greater truth of the turmoil prevails.

And GOODBYE UNCLE TOM… When we learn that the only nation that would let them film this misconceived cult classic was Papa Doc’s Haiti!…does anything more need to be said to set us up for a mind-boggling viewing experience? It’s a spectacular collection of important works in world cinema. And from splendid source elements.

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