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Dir. Franco Prosperi, 1984
Italy. 92 min.

Cahiers du Cinema founder Andre Bazin theorized that montage allowed for homogenous barriers between images, allowing (or perhaps begging) viewers to suspend their notions of disbelief. As an example, he cited the match-cuts between a little boy and a lion in the jungle in an "otherwise mediocre English film" called WHERE NO VULTURES FLY, wherein the distance was suddenly ruptured in a wide-focus master that included both parties in the frame. This question gets a thorough shellacking in WILD BEASTS, a singularly disgusting tale of widespread animal revenge directed by none other than Franco "GOODBYE UNCLE TOM" Prosperi.

WILD BEASTS takes place in a nameless dystopia not so different from any big city today - although the camera goes to a hell of a lot of work to avoid identifying this metropolis as Frankfurt, which is obviously is. Hypercapitalism metes inequality out with remorseless exactitude; Prosperi sees it trickling down the most powerless denizens of any city, the animals held hostage by zookeepers. When a mysterious pile of angel dust-loaded syringes find their way into the city's sewer water, the prisoners erupt into bloody, pithy, skull-crushing revolution.

Not for the faint (or reasonably healthy, really) of heart, Prosperi's film is the Mr. Hyde to ROAR's Dr. Jekyll, which is to say it's no easier to watch animals suffer in service of a whack-ass international coproduction than a washed-up Hollywood vanity project. Good luck taking the film's disclaimer that no animals were harmed in the making of this production" at face value; that said, WILD BEASTS is a thrill ride more for its fakery than its realism. One sequence where two lovers in a parked car are overtaken by lysergic mutant rats becomes a master class in giallo staging far more disgusting than David Lynch's Dinkins-era anti-rat PSAs for the City of New York, while the inevitable death-embrace of a deranged dog and his bewildered master takes way too long to happen to register as anything other than hilarious.


124 South 3rd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11249
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Kid Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: No


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