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Tales of Ordinary Madness

'When Hemingway put his brains on the wall, that was style...' drones the gutbucket poet (Gazzara) to a dozing audience in New York, before retreating home to LA among the 'defeated, demented and damned' to stagger through his quotidien tales of ordinary madness. A groan from the lower depths, this is adapted from the autobiography of leftover-beat poet Charles Bukowski. The problem is that Ferreri's grip on the English language seems too infirm to inject the necessary irony into a phrase like the one above. Gazzara is fine as the grizzled soak of a poet, his snake eyes forever gloating on some distant private joke, but his portentous pronouncements would look better in subtitles. And among the various madonna/whores that people his circle of purgatory is a sloe-eyed seraph (Muti) given to such acts as closing up her vagina with a safety-pin (presumably the corollary to Depardieu carving off his own prick in The Last Woman). For all that, there is a final scene on a beach which proves that Ferreri is the equal of Antonioni when it comes to spatial beauty. CPea.

Release details

Duration: 108 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Marco Ferreri
Screenwriter: Sergio Amidei, Marco Ferreri, Anthony Foutz
Cast: Ben Gazzara
Ornella Muti
Susan Tyrrell
Tanya Lopert
Roy Brocksmith
Katia Berger
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