Mondo Mondo


What is Mondo? It’s “world” in Italian. Mondo Cane, or Dog World, is an Italian documentary that shocked audiences around the globe back in 1963 (and somehow garnered an Oscar nod for its theme song More) Its success inspired countless imitation shockumentaries (Mondo Balordo, Mondo Macabro, Mondo Bizarro, Mondo Oscenita) and eventually mondo became a buzzword, a shorthand used by exploiteers to basically say “Heads up, sickies! Wanna see some seriously fucked up stuff?” And so they slapped it on the front of any random title (Mondo Mod, Mondo Daytona,Mondo Teeno). Even Jack Hill (Mondo Keyholeand Russ Meyer (Mondo Topless) got into the act. After sitting through both Mondo Cane 1 & 2 (the latter also released under the title Mondo Pazzo) I was perhaps most shocked by the fact that I wasn’t all that shocked…perhaps I was prepared by growing up in the age of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, nature documentaries…and Jackass. The two films are certainly extreme, graphic, morbid, gross and exploitative…but there are moments of great Swiftian satire, endearing silliness and serious pathos. I think the point of these films is to shed light on the full spectrum of human behavior and nature: its cruelty,hypocrisy, moral insanities, folly, its hunger for truth and meaning…the divine comedy that is life on this planet…




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