Bye Bye Monkey
yann schinazi | colorado | 08/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Marco Ferreri's 'Bye Bye Monkey' is a masterpiece of anarchic cinema. With its bizarre, highly symbolic story of a man (Depardieu) who attempts to father a monkey he finds in the palm of a huge dead ape lying dead on the beach. What is most astonishing about the film is the way it becomes moving in such a primal, illogical way... Great art is almost always anarchic to an extent and goes against logic, convention or any other form of calculation. The images in Ferreri's film take on a new kind of power, the hypnotic scenes soar in such a way that rarely seems possible, and we are reminded that great art creates its own logic. Ferreri also achieves a kind of beautiful tone that is entirely his own: symbolic and yet intimate, haunting and exaggerated, realistic in its portray of surrealism. It's a somber, nihilistic film that achieves a clarity not often seen in symbolism, everything that happens in the film seems expected, regardless of how bizarre it may seem.
He has managed to find an anarchic logic.
Brilliant symbolism but boring
Margaux Paschke | New York | 01/02/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In a nutshell, this movie is about the changing gender roles. One reviewer suggested watching this on a rainy afternoon and I agree. It will certainly make you nod off and maybe then all of the rich symbolism will make sense as you sleep - that, or give you horrible nightmares.
I enjoy great films by Antonioni, Pasolini and the rest who embody symbolism at its best (in my opinion) but this one....not one of my favorites. I gave it four stars for originality but subtracted one for the long stretches of boredom and lack of real plotline (it's just one weird scene after another). Here's my take on the film for what it's worth.
We meet Lafayette (Gerard Depardieu) as he wakes in this nightmarish vision of NYC of the 70s. He makes his way to his job (stage hand for a feminist group that does performance art) carrying a large steel pipe to ward off the people patrolling in white hazardous suits? Which I took to mean that the world would be a very dangerous place for men if feminists really did get their way?? The women revile Lafayette in all his primitive maleness. They discuss a topic for their next performance: rape. They decide to rape Lafayette to prove women are just as capable of violence. This scene actually shows how dissimilar men and women really are - the actual act and the result are different. For certain viewers, please note that there is full frontal nudity of both sexes in this film. Lafayette's group of friends are a ragtag bunch of older men and one woman (she is included because she still likes men - she keeps a painting she admires of a male, her children will not visit until she takes it down). They all hold the same view of admiring the past but the past is decaying all around them. A giant King Kong figure lies rotting on the beach. This group of misfits discover a baby monkey nuzzling the dead giant ape (just like nurturing and traditional mothering roles will die out from rampant feminism). Lafayette intends to raise this monkey despite warnings that he should not and could not take care of it. These scenes of Lafayette attempting to raise the monkey made me think that the same awkwardness and clumsy parenting would result if men tried to raise children on their own. There is also the whole constant whistle blowing thing by Lafayette. It scares away the rats? An underground society of rats? and since he blew the whistle at the most ardent feminist of the performance group, then she too is a rat?
The whole film is ripe with symbolism and all of this brilliant imagery is thrown at the viewer in an almost provoking manner but you need to wade through a lot of boring scenes to get to the interesting bits. Great haunting visuals but not enough foundation was build to form a cohesive story. I recommend this film to diehard film fans who want to edify their symbolism viewing."
Absurdism to the T!
Rayv | Noho, Ma | 08/09/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Is it another world, or our world gone mad? Ferreri has quite an imagination, especially his use of juxtaposition: a rotting carcass of King Kong, a wax museum where James Coco reenacts parts of history, and an underground society where rats prevail. Depardieu, who's lines are badly dubbed, manages to get through this yarn uncomfortably gripping a chimp where he found beside the dead Kong. Mastroianni is always at his best, altho this time presenting a more cartoonish characterization. However, despite the exotic idiosyncrasies, this film can be rather dull at moments. Nevertheless, I enjoyed a large percentage of this movie, ad hominem the ambiguous finale which may help clarifies the film's bizarre symbolism. Watch this one on a rainy day."