Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Taboos of the World (1963)

I'm still in something of a 'Mondo' mood.  I partially sated it the other week by watching Addio Africa.  Or, a version of Africa Addio, that is, as many different edits of the film exist.  The one I saw was the longest version currently available with an English language narration.  This is still several minutes shorter than the Italian language original and cuts some sequences, but adds others.  It is still more complete than the butchered US release version, Africa: Blood and Guts, which is something of a travesty, editing the film down to less than half its original length and focusing on the violence.  Whichever version you watch, it's a grueling experience. But we're not here to talk about Africa Addio (we'll hopefully get to that in a later post), but rather to take a quick look at the trailer for another intriguing-looking Mondo movie: Taboos of the World (1963).

In an age when absolutely nothing seems taboo any more, with so=called 'reality' TV regularly serving up the sort of content you might only have found in soft core porn a few years ago, it seems odd to think that there was a time when you could titillate cinema audiences with the prospect of seeing some 'taboo breaking' behaviour.  Especially when a lot of it, like eating snakes, jumping down wells and some mildly smutty temple engravings, seems pretty damn tame by today's standards.  But, as I've noted before, the pre-swinging sixties were a different world, still living in the shadow of the less socially liberated immediate post-war era.  Overseas travel was, for most people, a novelty and, consequently, much of the rest of the world seemed incredibly exotic to most Europeans.  I've yet to track down a complete version of this film but the trailer indicates that it includes the usual Mondo mix of sex, sensationalism and animal cruelty.  All proven box office winners back in the sixties but undoubtedly the subject of disapproval nowadays.  Now, it seems, shockumentaries are bad, but low rent 'reality' TV exploiting the emotionally vulnerable, subjecting them to public humiliation and ridicule, is OK. 



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