Italy, a country known for some of the best cuisine in the world, art, architecture, fashion, Opera, literature, design, and yes, film. Birthing a long list of talented filmmakers, it is surprising to think that the region has also produced a truly unique Horror cinema scene. Upon a quick glance, a handful of names which come to mind include Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, as well as the one and only Ruggero Deodato. For Deodato, often associated with his highly controversial 1980 film Cannibal Holocaust, the label Horror Director may not truly justify his talents, and it is clearly evident in the new Documentary film, Deodato Holocaust.
The work of Brazilian Filmmaker Felipe M. Guerra, and making its world premiere at the Fantaspoa Film Festival, Deodato Holocaust is a long overdue look into the career of Ruggero Deodato. Premiering on May 16th, and being shown through June 2nd at what is considered the largest genre film festival in Latin America, it must first be noted that the production is very independent. This in mind, for the most part, it consists of various video interviews casually held between the filmmaker and Deodato.
There are no guest interviews from others whom have worked with Deodato through the years, sometimes you can faintly hear Guerra’s voice behind the camera, and the entirety of the interviews are in Italian with English subtitles. Cut and dry, the film is not without editing and intriguing footage though. Instead of just interview footage, the film is carefully edited with various images, newspaper headlines, and video clips of Deodato’s lengthy list of films. Melding together, and making the the viewing experience more enticing to the eye, while singular in focus, Deodato Holocaust is quite well done.
These technical aspects addressed, in truth, if you are interested in the filmography of Ruggero Deodato, the very fact that you are able to experience him telling you his story in his own words is remarkable. Let us keep in mind that this is a now 80 year old man, one who lives a pretty low key life, so the fact that Guerra was able to track him down and have him agree to take part in this Documentary is remarkable within itself. This in mind, Deodato’s interviews are very candid and intelligent, giving you a broader sense of who he is.
Presented in chronological order, you are given insight into Deodato’s start in film, right from his very first production down to the more recent. Amidst it all you learn that he never truly set out to be known as a Horror film director, and that his body of work is quite diverse; ranging from Romance to Action, to Westerns. Then, of course, there is a good deal of focus on his most infamous and popular film, Cannibal Holocaust. Perhaps a drawing card for fans to check out the Documentary, you quickly learn the essence of what Deodato was truly trying to accomplish with the harshness, and that was realism.
You see, Deodato is very much from a different time and place in the world, and it is reflected in the strong imagery of films such as Cannibal Holocaust as well as The House on the Edge of the Park. Judging from the final minutes of his interviews for Deodato Holocaust, he was raised to face the reality of death, and although sometimes it can be ugly, to deal with it. Ironic, considering everything is sugarcoated in modern society, Deodato leaves you with a very thought-provoking opinion about the public perception of Cannibal Holocaust, and with that, you need to decide for yourself what is truly horrifying.
Overall, Deodato Holocaust is an insightful, personal look into the world of Ruggero Deodato. Given a catchy title to grab the attention of the Horror fan, it could be argued it does not truly due Ruggero Deodato justice, because he is not really a Horror film director. Brilliantly put in his own words, he is an adventurous director, and adding to that, one who has always truly been passionate about creating a realistic viewing experience. Come in looking to learn about Cannibal Holocaust and leave earning more acute knowledge about of a dying breed of filmmakers. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives Deodato Holocaust 4.5 out of 5 stars.