Joseph Pujol, Le Pétomane, was a real-life character who had an astonishing range of bowel sounds: 'not every zephyr is alike'. In Belle Epoque Paris, he earned a fortune with his show at the Moulin Rouge, where he performed to musical accompaniment by his sons and blew smoke-rings from both ends at once. He is shown mixing with the likes of Gide and Satie, and Schönberg writes a piece for his sphincter (which, if true, says a lot about 'the great dodecaphonist'). Tognazzi, in marvellous form, plays the fartiste as a fastidious, rueful man who falls in love with an orphaned countess cellist, and goes to great lengths to conceal his profession, with predictable results. He also rouses the wrath of moralists who, having failed to deter him with heckling, brand 'TACI' (silence) on his right buttock. Festa Campanile's leisurely film includes the obscenity trial where Dante, no less, is cited in his defence ('And he made of his arse a trumpet'), and a bum-blasting finale in front of royalty. It's entirely inoffensive, and such handsome light comedy is not to be sniffed at.
Cast and crew
Pasquale Festa Campanile
Leo Benvenuti, Piero De Barnardi