Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mondo Does Mondo: Brutes and Savages

It's important to remember that this is all true.  Oh and it's not racist.  Today's film is Brutes and Savages, a film that just screams 'totally not judgmental.'  For the uninitiated, here's a quick summary of what Mondo Films are.  Starting with Mondo Cane, the genre came about.  Mondo Films are Documentaries...but from a skewed perspective.  Mondo Films are 'Message Films' (films that go out to prove a message, no matter what they actually find).  Mondo Films' messages are almost always 'look out how weird other people are- they don't act like us!'  Mondo Cane and (most of) the rest were about showing you other Cultures from an 'unfiltered perspective' and telling you 'the truth.'  So that's what this film is.  With a title like Brutes & Savages, you must know what to expect.  You will see 'weird cultures,' 'crazy rituals' and lots of Animals killed on-screen.  Yeah, the 1970s were a bit more lax about that thing- especially if you were Italian.  I will be very selective with my shots, so don't worry P.E.T.A.  To see if this lesser-known Mondo Film is worth a look, read on...
I have a question right off of the bat: who the hell is Arthur Davis?!?

Seriously, they advertise this like you should go 'Oh look- it's Arthur Davis!'  This is his only IMDB Credit, so...yeah.
This, however, is the most telling Shot of all.  Just read the last bit of text above the Copyright Information.  I'll wait.
So yeah, The Man in the Yellow Hat here is telling you that he's going to stage some (if not most) of the scenes.  Feel free to doubt anything you see here.
The first part of the film involves him 'finding' some 'Tribe' (who's name I'm sure that I can't spell) and watching their rituals.  They apparently love to paint their faces.  Is this guy the head of Anonymous' African Branch?
There's not much to talk about here.  The Tribe has a ritual involving a bunch of people fighting.

My question: where did the 'Natives' get the plastic tubing for this mask?
There's this guy.  I think that this speaks for itself really.

Oh and there's an hilariously-fake bit with a Crocodile.  More on that in the wrap-up.
Skipping past some Animal killing, some Animals killing each other and a half-hearted expose on people that grow Coca Leafs, we see people in Central America who run around and beat each other as part of some totally-real ceremony.

This guy is the winner...or loser, depending on how you look at things in the long-term.
After a random sub-plot about Arthur Davis getting the guy brain surgery (for his concussion...apparently)- which I'm sure was top-notch back then-, we get a guy showing us some pornographic sculptures.  No, really.

Will I ever run out of different things to censor?  I hope not!
The film ends in Central America with Llamas having sex.  There's more, but...can you really think about anything else right now?  I thought not.  The End.
Yeah, it's not good.  Let's not split hairs: this is a silly and fake movie.  If you skip the real scenes are Animals being killed (whether by 'Natives' or each other), it's all pretty harmless.  That's not counting the racism that it helped 'justify,' of course.  This is not Faces of Death.  Mondo Cane is kind of the same way.  Aside from certain parts (where they may or may not have killed that Turtle by flipping it), it is mostly 'look at how weird this is!'  I was expecting more graphic stuff.  The worst part (content-wise and ethically) is the bit near the End where they imply that the Tribe will actually have sex with the Llamas.  Implied (and mostly-staged) bestiality, folks!  Bear in mind, I've seen a film where a 'Native' appears to screw a Goat, so it's not the worst thing that I've seen.  Even so, Ew.  The counterpoint is the hilariously-bad scene where the men do a 'rite of passage' where they must cross a Crocodile-filled river.  Yeah, that is totally a thing.  When the man is attacked, you see an awkward mix of a puppet Crocodile kind of gnawing on a guy's hand in a muddy river and a real a pool.  Yeah, it's silly as hell.  Whoever thought that this Scene was convincing really needs some glasses!  In summary, Brutes and Savages is a lot more tame (and boring) than you would think.  If you can skip/gloss over the Animal deaths, it is mostly a silly look at how life was before the Discovery Channel.  Take us away, awkward comparison shots...
Next up, a Kurt Angle movie that I bought from Blockbuster.  With a Cast of Wrestlers, you just know that it's going to turn out great!  Stay tuned...

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