Thursday, January 7, 2021

#2,526. Mondo Cane 2 (1963)

In the opening paragraph of my review of 1962’s Mondo Cane, an “exploitation film posing as a documentary”, I said that “while (it) does have something to say about the world we live in, the ultimate goal of Mondo Cane is to shock and disgust, which, on occasion, it does quite well”. That same sentiment also fits its 1963 sequel, Mondo Cane 2, to a T.

Like the first movie, Mondo Cane 2 is a crossbreed of documentary and straight-up exploitation. Shot on-location in (among other places) Italy, the United States, Africa and Vietnam, Mondo Cane 2 follows suit with the original by featuring plenty of bizarre scenes (in Portugal the faithful clean the outside steps of a church with their tongues, and elderly U.S. tourists in Hawaii shell out top dollar to get covered in Volcanic mud, which supposedly will rid them of wrinkles) as well as some gross ones (Mexican farmers keep their crops clear of pesky bugs by wrapping the parasitic invaders in tortillas and eating them, and the filmmakers pay a visit to a small village in Africa, where the women use their bare hands to make roofing material out of animal manure).

Like many films of this ilk, Mondo Cane 2 also has its share of disturbing moments; in Saigon, a Buddhist Monk protests against the current policies of his government by dousing himself in gasoline and striking a match; and we witness first-hand the dissection of a dead crocodile, which is a delicacy to the citizens of an almost extinct African tribe (why is the tribe almost extinct, you ask? Well, according to the filmmakers, a steady diet of crocodile meat has caused sterility in the male population). This sequel even tackles some environmental issues; in Africa, white flamingos die by the hundreds when a nearby lake is polluted by a British factory.

Still, even with the above scenes, Mondo Cane 2 isn’t quite as shocking as its predecessor, but it is, nonetheless, a worthy follow-up to the popular original.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10 - Worth a watch

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