Ultime grida dalla savana

Ultime grida dalla savana

Infobox Film
name = Ultime grida dalla savana


image_size =
caption = Theatrical poster
director = Antonio Climati Mario Morra
producer = Antonio Climati Mario Morra
writer = Antonio Climati Mario Morra
narrator = Alberto Moravia
starring =
music = Carlo Savina
cinematography = Antonio Climati
editing = Antonio Climati Mario Morra
distributor = Titanus Distribuzione
released = flagicon|Italy 24 October 1975 flagicon|France 21 January 1976 flagicon|Japan 13 March 1976
runtime = 94 min
country = Italy
language = Italian
budget = Unknown
preceded_by =
followed_by = "Savana violenta"
website =
amg_id = 1:245084
imdb_id = 0155306

"Ultime grida dalla savana" (1975) (English: "Final Cry of the Savanna"), also known as "La Grande caccia" and by its English title "Savage Man Savage Beast", is an influential Mondo film directed by Antonio Climati and Mario Morra. Filmed all around the world, its central theme focuses on hunting and the interaction between man and animal. More specifically, the film documents various forms of hunting that can be found in the world today and how humans and animals can both become the hunter or prey. Like many Mondo films, the film makers claim to document real, bizarre and violent behavior and customs, though many of the scenes are actually staged.cite book |last=Kerekes |first=David |coauthors= David Slater |title=Killing for Culture: Death Film from Mondo to Snuff |year=1996 |month=January |publisher=Creation Books |location=UK |isbn=1-871592-20-8] It is narrated by Italian novelist Alberto Moravia.

This was the first film of Climati's and Morra's Savage Trilogy, the other two films being "Savana violenta" ("This Violent World") and "Dolce e selvaggio" ("Sweet and Savage"). The best known film of the trilogy, "Ultime grida dalla savana" became influential in exploitation cinema by use of cinematographic techniques that would be repeated in numerous subsequent Mondo films.cite book |last=Goodall |first=Mark |title=Sweet and Savage: The World Through the Shockumentary Film Lens |year=2006 |publisher=Headpress |location=London, UK |isbn=1-900486-49-0] Two scenes in particular, a lion attack on a tourist in Namibia and the murder of an indigenous man by a group of mercenaries in South America, have gained notoriety for being purported as genuine footage of human death. Also, the film sparked a rivalry between the team of Climati and Morra and the brothers Alfredo and Angelo Castiglioni. These two teams became the forerunners of the second generation of Mondo cinema.cite book |last=Kerekes |first=David |coauthors= David Slater |title=Killing for Culture: Death Film from Mondo to Snuff |year=1996 |month=January |publisher=Creation Books |location=UK |isbn=1-871592-20-8] cite book |last=Goodall |first=Mark |title=Sweet and Savage: The World Through the Shockumentary Film Lens |year=2006 |publisher=Headpress |location=London, UK |isbn=1-900486-49-0]

Synopsis

The film is a depiction of various scenes, usually violent or bizarre, that somehow relate to hunting. Each scenario is presented one after the other with little regard for narrative continuity.cite book |last=Goodall |first=Mark |title=Sweet and Savage: The World Through the Shockumentary Film Lens |year=2006 |publisher=Headpress |location=London, UK |isbn=1-900486-49-0] The opening scene is an introduction to a hunter in Patagonia who hunts stags in order to survive. The opening credits play over as he chases after a stag, which he ultimately shoots, kills and beheads. Afterwards, one of the numerous scenes of anti-hunting gatherings is shown, this one in Cape Cod. The attention quickly shifts to wildlife hunting, where a monkey is killed by a leopard, and then a squirrel monkey by an anaconda. The theme changes again to the social hunting of wild game in Australia and Africa. Aborigines hunt kangaroos and other large marsupials with spears and giant bats with boomerangs. Indigenous tribes of Africa hunt large game in the savanna, including antelope, buffalo, and elephants (these scenes of African bush hunting were originally shot for the film "Africa addio"cite book |last=Goodall |first=Mark |title=Sweet and Savage: The World Through the Shockumentary Film Lens |year=2006 |publisher=Headpress |location=London, UK |isbn=1-900486-49-0] ). Religious ceremonies are also shown, where the African hunters proceed to suck fresh blood from the entrails of an antelope, and the Australian aborigines symbolically bury their prey in dust in order to placate the spirits of the animals. Lastly, two brothers are arrested after partaking in a form of ritual post-mortem cannibalism on three of their relatives in order to acquire the hunting skills of the dead.

Other hunting traditions then follow, again rooted in religion. The warriors of the Kuru tribe in Africa commit a sacred act in which they copulate with the ground in belief that it will make the Earth fertile and produce animals for the hunt. Also, a stag hunt in France, rooted in ancient pagan beliefs of the Gauls, is blessed by a mass before the hunt takes place, in which the hunters and dogs chase and ultimately kill a fleeing stag. In a similar fox hunt, the Wild Fox Association sabotages the hunting efforts by serving wine laced with a laxative to the hunters and distracting the dogs with an Afghan bitch in heat. Their efforts are then connected to species conservation, and to exemplify that hunters are truly concerned in wildlife conservation, Argentine hunters capture an Andean condor to sell to a zoo. A collage of other conservation efforts is shown, including the tagging of white rhinoceroses, grizzly bears and elephants, which are shot with morphine darts. Argentinian deer and elephant seals are physically subdued and marked. Tourists on Africans safaris then come to view the conservation efforts, which the narrator claims to have seemingly negated the animals' violent instincts. This deception is demonstrated with the mauling of a tourist named Pit Dernitz by lions.

Another anti-hunting demonstration becomes the film's focus, this time on the Isle of Wight. Nudity and intercourse are practiced freely amongst the demonstrators, and this is contrasted by ancient hunter-gathering groups, who had strict rules concerning nudity. The narrator argues that once hunting had left this group of people, so did their rules toward nudity. Also highlighted is the contradiction that though this people are against hunting, thousands of farm-raised animals had to die to support them. The focus changes to Humboldt Penguins, which cannot hunt because of polluted waters, and thus seem detached and without focus. This effect is compared to modern day Eskimos, who no longer hunt since the discovery of oil in their homeland and have fallen into depression and melancholy. In order to reverse the process, several groups of men go out and revive their hunting ways. Reflected in this is a montage of gun ownership, which is related to feelings of masculinity, followed by brief shots of illegal elephant poaching from Africa (these scenes of poaching were also originally shot for "Africa addio"cite book |last=Goodall |first=Mark |title=Sweet and Savage: The World Through the Shockumentary Film Lens |year=2006 |publisher=Headpress |location=London, UK |isbn=1-900486-49-0] ). To offset the dwindling number of game due to poaching, warriors from the Lobi tribe celebrate the "Ceremony of Life", in which they masturbate with ceremonial rods and pour the product into the river, hoping the animals will drink the semen and multiply. Attention shifts to large electronic probes in the Peruvian savanna used to measure the winds of El Niño for optimal fishing conditions. Fishing birds are also electronically tagged so the prime fishing areas can be located based on the birds' fishing habits. This fish frenzy in South America is reflected in the salmon run in Alaska, where kodiak bears hunt and fight for prey.

An examination of a hunting tradition in northern Europe follows, where falcons assist humans in hunting by catching wild game, such as rabbits and pheasants. Further collaboration with man and animal is highlighted, this time with cheetahs. To demonstrate the cheetah's speed and effectiveness, a chase between a group of cheetahs and ostriches is arranged, where the birds are hunted down and killed. The next animal collaborators are dogs, which hunt wild boar in Patagonia and a puma which has attacked a herd of sheep and a shepherd. In cities, however, stray dogs are the ones hunted by dog catchers, demonstrating that the hunt is still active, but the prey has changed. Indios also use dogs to hunt monkeys, but their efforts are compared to mercenaries hunting the Indios themselves in order to clear them from their native land for development. In one such instance, mercenaries retaliate against a death of a workman by hunting down a group of Indios, one of which they torture, castrate and graphically murder. Various scenes of wildlife are used to contrast the violent scene, after which orangutans are hunted to be sold to zoos. The film then ends with the coexistence of man and animal between Erik Zimen, an ecologist, and wolves, the group of animals he wishes to save.

Reaction

The film was released in Italy on 24 October, 1975, and later internationally in 1976. The film fared particularly well in Asia; in 1976, "Ultime grida dalla savana" was outgrossed in Hong Kong only by "Jaws".cite book |last=Goodall |first=Mark |title=Sweet and Savage: The World Through the Shockumentary Film Lens |year=2006 |publisher=Headpress |location=London, UK |isbn=1-900486-49-0] Despite this, reception to the film from mainstream movie critics is almost completely negative, though it is well accepted by critics in exploitation film circles. Mark Goodall calls the film a "remarkable, pseudo-philosophical mondo examination of hunting fixated on the cyclical, the (inter)relationship of the hunter and the hunted,"cite book |last=Goodall |first=Mark |title=Sweet and Savage: The World Through the Shockumentary Film Lens |year=2006 |publisher=Headpress |location=London, UK |isbn=1-900486-49-0] Ian Jane of DVD Maniacs states, "While it’s hardly the film that will make you a mondo movie convert, it does have some interesting parts that make it worth a look for interested parties and those who enjoy this type of thing."cite web |url=http://www.dvdmaniacs.net/Reviews/Q-T/savage_man.html |title=Ultime Grida Dalla Savana a.k.a Savage Man... Savage Beast a.k.a. The Great Hunting |author=Ian Jane |publisher=DVD Maniacs |accessdate=2007-10-04]

Criticism

The content of the film, particularly the graphic violence and human death, has been criticized as being too explicit and exploitative. Robert Firsching of Allmovie states: PQuote|The reason for the film's notoriety, however, is a collection of grainy 16 mm images depicting the horrific round-up, mutilation, castration, and slaughter of a group of tribesmen by white mercenaries. As appalling and revolting a sequence as ever depicted in a documentary film, the massacre footage marked something of a turning point in the development of the mondo subgenre, which moved increasingly toward snuff-like collections of death and mutilation.cite web |url=http://wc04.allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=avg&sql=1:245084~T1 |title=Ultime Grida dalla Savana > Review |author=Robert Firsching |publisher=All Media Guide |accessdate=2007-10-04] "Time Out Film Guide" made similar criticisms of the film's content, calling it, "A bloody, blatantly exploitative mess of a movie," and says it is "just another opportunity to gawp at raw scenes of sex and (more especially) violence."cite web |url=http://www.timeout.com/film/newyork/reviews/74046/Savage_Man_Savage_Beast.html |title=Savage Man... Savage Beast movie review |author=J. Py |publisher=Time Out New York |accessdate=2007-10-04] The film was also used by James Ferman at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts as an example of the need for film censorship.cite book |last=Kerekes |first=David |coauthors= David Slater |title=Killing for Culture: Death Film from Mondo to Snuff |year=1996 |month=January |publisher=Creation Books |location=UK |isbn=1-871592-20-8]

The inclusion of several staged or scripted scenes has made the film, which claims to consist of purely authentic footage, a target for critical condemnation. Numerous scenes have been proven fake, including the anti-fox hunting campaign involving the fictional "Wild Fox Association" and the murder of the indigenous men by mercenaries. During another wildlife rally, the fabrication of the scene is apparent with the presence of Italian porn star Ilona Staller. The lion attack on Pit Dernitz is also suspected of being a fabrication.cite book |last=Kerekes |first=David |coauthors= David Slater |title=Killing for Culture: Death Film from Mondo to Snuff |year=1996 |month=January |publisher=Creation Books |location=UK |isbn=1-871592-20-8] cite book |last=Goodall |first=Mark |title=Sweet and Savage: The World Through the Shockumentary Film Lens |year=2006 |publisher=Headpress |location=London, UK |isbn=1-900486-49-0]

While staged footage had been included since the early history of Mondo films, these scenes are nonetheless targets for critical abashment. Kerekes and Slater calls the anti-fox hunt sequence "self-parody",cite book |last=Kerekes |first=David |coauthors= David Slater |title=Killing for Culture: Death Film from Mondo to Snuff |year=1996 |month=January |publisher=Creation Books |location=UK |isbn=1-871592-20-8] and Goodall labels the same scene as "ludicrous". The staged scenes of human death also come under fire for being more exploitative than educational, particularly among critics who are aware of the scenes' fabrication. Aside from receiving criticism for including staged footage, Goodall also points out the reuse of sequences of African tribal hunting and poaching from "Africa addio" as another flaw of the film.cite book |last=Goodall |first=Mark |title=Sweet and Savage: The World Through the Shockumentary Film Lens |year=2006 |publisher=Headpress |location=London, UK |isbn=1-900486-49-0]

Controversy

Infobox movie certificates
United_States = Not Rated
United_Kingdom = X (cut)
Australia = R18+ (cut)
Canada (British Columbia) =
Canada (Alberta) =
Canada (Manitoba) =
Canada (Ontario) =
Canada (Maritime) =
Canada (Quebec) =
Canada (Home Video) =
Germany =
Malaysia =
New_Zealand =
Singapore =
Brazil =
Belgium =
Colombia =
Denmark =
Finland = Banned
France =
Hong_Kong =
Ireland =
Netherlands =
Norway = 18 (cut)
Sweden =
Iceland =
Peru =
Poland =
Portugal =
Philippines =
South_Africa =
South_Korea =
Switzerland =
Argentina =
Italy = VM18

Due to its graphic content, "Ultime grida dalla savana" has run into censorship issues with certain countries' film boards. In Australia, the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) banned both an uncut and cut version of the film in 1976. An appeal filed later that year was denied. Ten years later, the home video distributor Palace Video brought the same cut print before the film board and it received an R18+ rating. The cuts include segments from the lion attack, the torture and murder of the indigenous man by mercenaries, a quick, graphic death of a fox by hounds and the death of a stag by a hunter in the opening scene.cite web | url=http://www.refused-classification.com/Films_S.htm#Savage%20Man,%20Savage%20Beast | title=Film S | publisher=Refused-Classification.com | accessdate=2007-10-03]

The film faced similar censorship problems for its theatrical release in the United Kingdom. In 1976, nearly 10 minutes were cut before it was passed with an X-rating by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). Various scenes of animal cruelty, a race between cheetahs and ostriches, the lion attack and the mercenary hunting were all cut from the British release.cite web | url=http://www.bbfc.co.uk/website/Classified.nsf/0/F60C3C105797AE96802566C800557149?OpenDocument | title=SAVAGE MAN - SAVAGE BEAST rated X by the BBFC | publisher=British Board of Film Classification | accessdate=2007-10-03] The scenes of animal cruelty were targeted by the RSPCA to be cut from the film, specifically the hunt and disembowelment of a puma. Also in 1976, the Valtion elokuvatarkastamo banned the film in Finland in its entirety for the inclusion of scenes of genuine human death. [cite web |url=http://195.197.150.133/elokuvahaku/EH1200.aspx |title=VET - Elokuvahaku |publisher=Valtion elokuvatarkastamo |accessdate=2007-11-09]

Influence

Being their former cinematographer, Climati drew heavy influence from the Mondo films of Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi. The cinematography used in "Ultime grida dalla savana", particularly the cinéma vérité styled shots, was previously used in "Africa addio", and some scenes are directly lifted from the latter film. Also, Carlo Savina's music conducted for the film bears similarities to the music Riz Ortolani conducted for "Mondo cane" and "Africa addio".cite book |last=Goodall |first=Mark |title=Sweet and Savage: The World Through the Shockumentary Film Lens |year=2006 |publisher=Headpress |location=London, UK |isbn=1-900486-49-0] In terms of content, Kerekes and Slater say, "Savage Man Savage Beast" is a slight return to the more encyclopaedic world view of mondo cinema which was prevalent in the 60s...," demonstrating Climati's early roots in Mondo cinema.cite book |last=Kerekes |first=David |coauthors= David Slater |title=Killing for Culture: Death Film from Mondo to Snuff |year=1996 |month=January |publisher=Creation Books |location=UK |isbn=1-871592-20-8]

The infamous scenes of human death (labeled as "amateur footage" in the film) may have been the most influential aspect of "Ultime grida dalla savana", as several subsequent films would use similar camera tactics to give certain scenes a sense of realism. Ruggero Deodato used this style prolifically in his film "Cannibal Holocaust", in which a group of film makers goes missing after heading into the South American rain forest to make a documentary on local cannibal tribes. In the film, only the team's shot footage is recovered, which is all shot in the cinéma vérité style resembling the "amateur footage" in "Ultime grida dalla savana".cite book |last=Kerekes |first=David |coauthors= David Slater |title=Killing for Culture: Death Film from Mondo to Snuff |year=1996 |month=January |publisher=Creation Books |location=UK |isbn=1-871592-20-8] cite book |last=Goodall |first=Mark |title=Sweet and Savage: The World Through the Shockumentary Film Lens |year=2006 |publisher=Headpress |location=London, UK |isbn=1-900486-49-0] The footage from "Cannibal Holocaust" proved so realistic that Deodato was arrested for making a snuff film (charges were ultimately dropped when he produced the supposedly slain actors for the courts).cite video | people = Ruggero Deodato (interviewee) | year = 2003 | title = In the Jungle: The Making of Cannibal Holocaust | accessdate = 2007-01-13 | medium = Documentary | location = Italy | publisher = Alan Young Pictures] cite interview |last=Deodato |first=Ruggero |subjectlink=Ruggero Deodato |interviewer=Sage Stallone | cointerviewers=Bob Murawski |title=Cult-Con 2000 |city=Tarrytown, New York |date=2000-11-12 |program=Cannibal Holocaust DVD Extras]

The release of "Ultime grida dalla savana" started a rivalry between Climati and Morra and two other Italian Mondo film makers, Angelo and Alfredo Castiglioni. The Castiglionis had made two previous Mondo films, "Africa segreta" and "Africa ama", before the release of Climati and Morra's first film. The Castiglionis' following film, "Addio ultimo uomo", released in 1978, includes a scene of "amateur footage" that mimics the mercenaries hunting in "Ultime grida dalla savana". This scene, in which an African bushman is captured, held down, tortured and castrated by a rival tribe, has also been proven staged.cite book |last=Kerekes |first=David |coauthors= David Slater |title=Killing for Culture: Death Film from Mondo to Snuff |year=1996 |month=January |publisher=Creation Books |location=UK |isbn=1-871592-20-8] cite book |last=Goodall |first=Mark |title=Sweet and Savage: The World Through the Shockumentary Film Lens |year=2006 |publisher=Headpress |location=London, UK |isbn=1-900486-49-0] Also in 1978, the death film "Faces of Death" included fabricated "amateur footage" that is a reenactment of the death of Pit Dernitz, replacing lions with a bear.cite book |last=Brottman |first=Mikita |title=Offensive Films |year=2005 |publisher=Vanderbilt University Press |location=Nashville |isbn=0-8265-1491-X]

Soundtrack

The music and songs in the film were composed and written by Italians Carlo Savina and Gilbert Kaplan. Songs were sung by Ann Collin and Gilbert Kaplan. The music resembles Riz Ortolani's score from "Africa addio", with most tracks of a light and upbeat nature, particularly during the opening and closing credits. The arrangement of music for atmosphere and comic effect also mimic the compositions in "Africa addio".cite book |last=Goodall |first=Mark |title=Sweet and Savage: The World Through the Shockumentary Film Lens |year=2006 |publisher=Headpress |location=London, UK |isbn=1-900486-49-0] The soundtrack was originally released on LP in 1975 and was later re-released with the soundtrack to "Savana Violenta" on CD in 1991. [cite web | url=http://www.soundtrackcollector.com/catalog/soundtrackdetail.php?movieid=7011 | title=Soundtrack Details: Ultime Grida Dalla Savana: La Grande Caccia | publisher=SoundtrackCollector.com | accessdate=2007-10-05]

Track listing

# "Questa grande terra"
# "Caccia al cervo"
# "Cattura elefante"
# "Holland and Holland"
# "L'Armadillo"
# "Morgan il cacciatore"
# "Morte di un animale"
# "Orango in libertà"
# "Accalappiacani"
# "Canti di caccia"
# "La Camargue"
# "Gli Struzzi"
# "Ragazzi in festa"
# "Festa paesana"
# "Prigionia di un orango"
# "La Gioia della libertà"
# "Questa grande terra"

Releases and sequels

Only three DVD releases of "Ultime grida dalla savana" are legally available on the market, [cite web |url=http://www.dvdaf.com/search.html?has=ultime+grida+dalla+savana&init_form=str0_0_has_ultime+grida+dalla+savana |title=DVD Aficionado |publisher=Saudakar Corporation |accessdate=2007-11-08] cite web |url=http://www.digital-retribution.com/reviews/dvd/0779.php |title=Savage Man, Savage Beast DVD Review |publisher=Digital Retribution |accessdate=2007-11-08] which are an uncut Japanese DVD released by Pioneer, a cut version released in the United States as part of the "Grindhouse Experience" box set and an Australian DVD from I-Entertainment. The Pioneer DVD has burnt on Japanese subtitles and runs at 91 minutes,ref|DVD and the cut featured in the "Grindhouse Experience" box set runs at 89 minutes. Though the "Grindhouse Experience" is NTSC format, the master source for their DVD appears to be the Australian PAL VHS released by Palace Video in 1986.cite web |url=http://www.refused-classification.com/Films_S.htm#Savage%20Man,%20Savage%20Beast |title=Films S |publisher=Refused-Classification.com |accessdate=2007-11-08] The Australian DVD is also mastered from the Palace Video VHS.cite web |url=http://www.digital-retribution.com/reviews/dvd/0779.php |title=Savage Man, Savage Beast DVD Review |publisher=Digital Retribution |accessdate=2007-11-08] Another uncut release is a Dutch VHS sold at various grey market websites.

Climati and Morra made two followup films to "Ultime grida dalla savana". The first followup, "Savana violenta", also known as "Savage Man Savage Beast no. 2", was released in 1976. "Savana violenta" was slightly less graphic in its depiction of violence,cite book |last=Goodall |first=Mark |title=Sweet and Savage: The World Through the Shockumentary Film Lens |year=2006 |publisher=Headpress |location=London, UK |isbn=1-900486-49-0] cite web |url=http://wc04.allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=avg&sql=1:245084~T1 |title=Ultime Grida dalla Savana > Review |author=Robert Firsching |publisher=All Media Guide |accessdate=2007-10-04] and, unlike its predecessor, it ran into no censorship troubles in Australia.cite web |url=http://www.refused-classification.com/Films_S.htm#Savage%20Man,%20Savage%20Beast |title=Films S |publisher=Refused-Classification.com |accessdate=2007-11-08] A recut version of the film was also released in the United States under the title "Mondo Violence". The last film, "Dolce e selvaggio", was released in 1983 and consisted partly of outtakes and recycled footage from Climati and Morra's previous two films. It was originally released uncut theatrically in Australia, though a 1987 video release was forced to be cut by approximately two minutes.cite web |url=http://www.refused-classification.com/Films_S.htm#Savage%20Man,%20Savage%20Beast |title=Films S |publisher=Refused-Classification.com |accessdate=2007-11-08] Morra went on to make one final Mondo film without Climati called "The Savage Zone", while Climati later made the cannibal film "Natura contro" in 1988.cite book |last=Kerekes |first=David |coauthors= David Slater |title=Killing for Culture: Death Film from Mondo to Snuff |year=1996 |month=January |publisher=Creation Books |location=UK |isbn=1-871592-20-8] cite book |last=Goodall |first=Mark |title=Sweet and Savage: The World Through the Shockumentary Film Lens |year=2006 |publisher=Headpress |location=London, UK |isbn=1-900486-49-0]

Though the DVD runs at 91 minutes, it is still uncut. The master source for the DVD was an uncut PAL print (which would run at 91 minutes as opposed to 94 minutes for film or NTSC). The feature was then converted to NTSC for the release.

References

External links

*
* [http://it.movies.yahoo.com/u/ultime-grida-dalla-savana/index-109872.html "Ultime grida dalla savana"] at Yahoo! Movies (Italian)
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkyrvB5nPW0 Lion attack] at YouTube


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