La Grande Bouffe
Reviled upon its release in 1973, La Grande Bouffe now stands as one of sidelined auteur Marco Ferrari's most palatable works. Of course, the tale of French high-society figureheads literally eating themselves to death within the confines of a secluded mansion is conducive to a generous amount of gross-out gastrointestinal set pieces. What's remarkable, though, is the restraint shown by the director and his star-studded cast, who manage to simultaneously captivate and disgust.
Like the best surrealist cinema, the film is directed with an assured hand and presents the bizarre in as formal a setting as possible, as if it were utterly prosaic. The suspension of disbelief required to accept the characters' course of action mirrors the process through which society perpetuates inequality and class division. The corrosive, nihilistic ugliness of excessive wealth and consumer culture has never been quite so damningly exposed. [Lewis Porteous]