Four well-off, well-bred, pot-bellied white men make a pact to seal themselves off in a mansion, take delivery of a truck-load of fresh meat, and then proceed to eat themselves to death. What must have looked like the freshest, edgiest, most outlandish and ribald movie of 1973 now comes across as an exercise in crass tedium and satire that's so garishly indelicate, there may as well be regular inter-titles which flash up the words: "PS This Is An Allegory" in blood-red bubble writing.
Ferreri isn't Buñuel's peer in terms of the sophistication of his jokes or the polish of his formality, but this bluntness is intentional. There's little satirical orientation in La Grande Bouffe, beyond its catchall parody of entitlement. A viewer can't safeguard themselves from the extremity of Ferreri's nihilism by clinging to what his film is "about," and this is the director's most startling achievement.
If the promise of canonical film school heartthrobs - among them Marcello Mastroianni, Ugo Tognazzi, and Michel Piccoli - gorging and fucking themselves to death in a provincial villa sets your heart a-racing, close that incognito tab and treat yourself to La Grande Bouffe. . . . Full bellies and belly-laughs await the hungry viewer - after two-hours-and-change of bilious morbidity, the next home-grown, garden-variety orgy you read about will seem like little more than a light snack.