Review: ‘Tales of Ordinary Madness’

Marco Ferreri, the anarchically-inclined 'Italo' filmmaker who has delved into the human psyche often in its mainly frustrated, exploited aspects in today's world, seems to have found a kindred spirit in the stories of the 1960s Yank sub-culture writer-poet Charles Bukowski. Film [shot in English, and adapted from Bukowski's book Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions, and General Tales of Ordinary Madness] is a distillation of Ferreri's themes.

Marco Ferreri, the anarchically-inclined ‘Italo’ filmmaker who has delved into the human psyche often in its mainly frustrated, exploited aspects in today’s world, seems to have found a kindred spirit in the stories of the 1960s Yank sub-culture writer-poet Charles Bukowski. Film [shot in English, and adapted from Bukowski’s book Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions, and General Tales of Ordinary Madness] is a distillation of Ferreri’s themes.

Ben Gazzara, in a knowing characterization of a poet (Charles) searching for the essence of love though primarily self-destructive and half believing in its redemptive powers, is first seen giving a philosophical comic talk in some foreign university on a tour. Going back to a dressing room, he finds a Lolita-like runaway who steals his money when he falls asleep.

He goes back to LA to write, drink and keep searching for women in a sort of adventurous series of escapades reminiscent of Henry Miller but not as self-indulgent and sex-for-its-own sake as the writings of Miller.

One day a sexy-looking blonde catches his eye in the street and he follows her. He finds her house and goes in to be suddenly devoured by her sexually but then turned over to the police for molesting her. Susan Tyrrell is effective in her sexual quirkiness.

Charles is freed and joins the tramp wino world for a while. Then home again to write and dry out. He also comments on the action along the way.

Tales of Ordinary Madness

Italy

Production

23 Giugno/Ginis. Director Marco Ferreri; Producer Jacqueline Ferreri; Screenplay Sergio Amidei, Marco Ferreri, Anthony Foutz; Camera Tonino Delli Colli; Editor Ruggero Mastroianni; Music Philippe Sarde; Art Director Dante Ferretti

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1981. Running time: 107 MIN.

With

Ben Gazzara Ornella Muti Susan Tyrrell Tanya Lopert Roy Brocksmith Katia Berger
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