Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 14th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1975
Directors: Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi
Writer: Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi, Claudio Quarantotto
Adpated from a Novel written by: Voltaire
Cast: Christopher Brown, Michele Miller, Jacques Herlin, José Quaglio, Steffen Zacharias, Gianfranco D’Angelo, Salvatore Baccaro, Alessandro Haber, Richard Domphe, Sonia Viviani, Carla Mancini, Lorenzo Piani, Giancarlo Badessi, Annick Berger, Giancarlo Cortesi, Marcello Di Falco, Mauro Perrucchetti, Valerio Ruggeri
DVD released: July 25th, 2011
Approximate running time: 107 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian, Dolby Digital Mono German
Subtitles: English, German
DVD Release: Camera Obscura
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL
Retail Price: 26.99 EUR
Mondo Candido was directed by Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi, a directing duo that is often referred to as the Godfather’s of Mondo. Over the course of fifteen years they would collaborate on six films, beginning with Mondo Cane and culminating with Mondo Candido. With each of these new excursions into the Mondo film genre, they would push further and further the boundaries of the genre. With two of their latter collaborations, Africa Addio and Goodbye Uncle Tom causing such an uproar due to their content, that their shocking content would lead to them being severely cut / altered in the various countries around the world in which they were released. By the time that Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi had arrived at Mondo Candido, they had clearly already started to drift in different directions as filmmakers. And outside of Mondo Candido bearing the word ‘Mondo’ in its titles, this film bears little resemblance to the film’s which they had made before it.
The screenplay for Mondo Candido was adapted from the novel ‘Candide’, which was written by Voltaire, a prolific French author who reportedly wrote more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. From a narrative standpoint Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi’s adaption does not stray too far away from the source martial, with the main differences between the two being a modernizing of few of the locations featured in Mondo Candido.
When compared to Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi’s other collaborations, the one film that closest resembles Mondo Candido would be Goodbye Uncle Tom (a pseudo documentary that is more staged than their other Mondo films that were often rooted in authenticity). So in this regard Mondo Candido continues the trend of using actors in place of filming events as they unfold.
Content wise Mondo Candido is filled to the brim with symbolism, most of which is done is a satirical way. And while some of the subversive humor that runs rampant in this film is in line with the type of humor that one would associate with Italian comedy’s from this era. There is obviously a lot more going on Mondo Candido then your average Italian comedy film, that there is not a single moment that is wasted. Making the overall impact of the humor all the more potent.
Visually this film quickly assaults one senses with its surreal visuals which perfectly compliment the fantastical nature of the story at hand. A few of this film’s more memorable moments include women jumping into a meat grinder, nude female Israeli freedom fighters being slaughtered in a field and a deviant dwarf with an overzealous sex drive. There are far too many deliriously absurd moments which unfold in this film that trying to catalog all of them would be futile.
Camera Obscura presents Mondo Candido in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original 2.35:1 ‘scope’ aspect ratio. Colors look vibrant, flesh tones look natural and details look sharp throughout. There are no problems with compression and edge enhancement in minimal.
This release comes with two audio options, a Dolby Digital Mono mix in Italian and a Dolby Digital Mono mix in German. Of these two audio mixes, the German language track fares slightly better as there is some mild background noise present in the Italian language track. In all both audio are more than suitable presentations of the film, as the dialog always comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. Also included with this release are two subtitle options, English and German.
The extras for this release are spread over two discs. Extras on disc one are limited to an audio commentary with film historians Christian Kessler and Marcus Stigglegger (in German with removable English subtitles). This audio commentary is a laid back track that is very informative and at times humorous. Some topics include the Mondo film genre, the creative talent behind Mondo Candido, Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi and various odd bits about this production.
Extras on disc two include the film’s Italian language trailer -with English subtitled (3 minutes 58 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), a extensive photo gallery with stills and other promotional materials, three featurette’s, ‘Just "Une Connerie" ?’ (28 minutes 46 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles), ‘Making up Voltaire’ (27 minutes 25 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles), ‘A Farewell to Mondo’ (21 minutes – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles) and a feature length documentary titled ‘Around the World in 15 Years’ (117 minutes 55 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles). ‘Just "Une Connerie" ?’ features comments from Federico Caddeo, who discusses Voltaire the author, who’s novel ‘Candide’ was the basis for this film. ‘Making up Voltaire’ is an interview with make-up artist Pierantonio Mecacci, who discusses his role in the production. ‘A Farewell to Mondo’ is a interview with Franco Prosperi, who discusses how Mondo Candido came about and how this film was really Gualtiero Jacopetti’s project, more than his. He also discusses the various locations used in this film and working once again with composer Riz Ortolani. The main extra included with this release is an exhaustive documentary titled ‘Around the World in 15 Years’, which gives an in depth look into Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi collaborations.
Also included with this release is a DVD booklet that includes a brief essay about Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi that was written by Frederico Caddeo, who touches upon his various encounters with these two men. This essay is presented in dual text, English and German. This release also comes with multi-lingual menus, English and German. Overall this is an impressive release that sets the bar high as the contender for the cult movie release of the year, highly recommended.