A grotesque black comedy-cum-farce that's more colorful than truly funny or shocking, Marco Risi's "Kaputt Mundi" provides a slick diversion that will most likely end up in Eurotube slots, with wider cassette export possible.

A grotesque black comedy-cum-farce that’s more colorful than truly funny or shocking, Marco Risi’s “Kaputt Mundi” provides a slick diversion that will most likely end up in Eurotube slots, with wider cassette export possible.

Based on a novel by co-scenarist Niccolo Ammaniti, the pic crosscuts — after a showy prelude involving a highway mishap — between residents of a posh condo complex outside Rome on New Year’s Eve. As their celebrations reel out of control (especially once a soccer team invades an elderly countess’s bash), so do various other crises: A wife avenges herself on a cheating husband, three Mafia types rob a bondage-trussed masochist, a suicidal woman changes her mind after swallowing pills. Two stoners sky-high on paint fumes cap the chaos by throwing dynamite in the heating system. Broadly played by the large cast, and briskly paced by helmer Risi (“The Pack,” “On the Dark Continent”), pile-up of incidents has outre energy but doesn’t really amount to anything beyond surface amusement. Production is well mounted, with solid tech contribs apart from some unconvincing special effects.

Kaputt Mundi

(COMEDY -- ITALIAN)

Production

An RAI Trade and Instituto Luce production in association with Sorpasso Film and Cinecitta. Produced by Marco Risi, Maurizio Tedesco. Directed by Marco Risi. Screenplay, Niccolo Ammaniti, Risi, based on the novel "L'ultimo capodanno dell'umanita" by Ammaniti. Camera (color), Maurizio Calvesi; editor, Franco Fraticelli; music, Andrea Rocca; art director, Luciano Ricceri; costumes, Maurizio Millenotti. Reviewed at Roxie Cinema, San Francisco, Sept. 30, 1999. (In Mill Valley Film Festival.) Running time: 105 MIN.

With

With: Monica Bellucci, Alessandro Haber, Francesca D'Aloja, Marco Giallini, Ricky Memphis, Giorgio Tirabassi, Natale Tulli, Piero Naroli, Max Mazzotta, Claudio Santamaria, Beppe Fiorello, Adriano Pappalardo, Gianni Ferreri.
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