Aug 16, 2014

Bye Bye Monkey

Alpha-frog actor Gérard Depardieu must have had a deep sense of respect for the great Guido auteur Marco Ferreri (Dillinger Is Dead, Tales of Ordinary Madness) as he not only waved around his erect member and even simulated self-castrating himself in the director’s devastatingly depressing French-Italian co-production The Last Woman (1976) aka La Dernière femme aka L'ultima donna, but he would also later play a cuckolded male rape victim with a monkey-based maternal instinct in the filmmaker’s NYC-based Italian-French co-production Bye Bye Monkey (1978) aka Ciao maschio aka Rêve de singe. Indeed, filmed in English and set in New York City yet never actually released in the degeneration nation it so scathingly depicts, Ferreri’s flick is an absurdist dystopian piece about the decline of both Western Civilization and masculinity where Depardieu attempts in vain to do his best Joe Dallesandro impression (in fact, Dallesandro’s one-time goombah girlfriend Stefania Casini even plays a feminist rapist in the film). Described for various contemporary reviewers as Ferreri’s most nonsensical, incoherent, and poorly outmoded work, Bye Bye Monkey, which won the coveted Grand Prize of the Jury at the 1978 Cannes Film Festival (notably, Polish auteur Jerzy Skolimowski's metaphysical horror flick The Shout also received the prize as both film's tied for the Grand Prize), is actually a relatively accessible, if not audaciously absurd and offbeat, satire of the Western world in the post-counter-culture/post-feminist age where all morals, heroes, culture, and history have been disposed of in a Trotskyite-approved Uncle Sam brand trashcan, hence why the film would probably not make much sense to neo-Marxist film critics and academics who root for the destruction of the very things (i.e. civilization, masculinity, heterosexuality, etc.) that the film decries. Indeed, although directed by a man that was arguably of the left (though it would be unfair to pigeonhole someone with such an idiosyncratic Weltanschauung), Ferreri’s work more or less the espouses same ideas as Viennese philosopher Otto Weininger and Teutonic philosopher of decline Oswald Spengler as a film set in a dying world where the Occident is taking its last gasp, virtually all men—be they young or old—are spiritually castrated, and where young women have started deranged feminist cults that see rape and getting collectively pregnant as forms of ‘progressive’ and ‘liberating’ behavior. Set in a post-industrial NYC wasteland where the corpse of King Kong lies on a beach while an elderly sexually repressed women sings “Rock-a-bye Baby” with her elderly black beau as the World Trade Center twin towers stand clearly in the background, Bye Bye Monkey is a work that wallows in esoteric eccentricity that has, in some ways, become all the more relevant in the post-9/11 age. Undoubtedly, the corpse of King Kong—arguably the greatest and most blatant cinematic symbol of rampant male heterosexuality—is symbolic of the death of males and masculinity. Featuring Depardieu as a cuckolded young man who becomes the adoptive father-mother-figure to King Kong’s bastard child, rampantly heterosexual Italian stud and leading man Marcello Mastroianni as a weak and senile old fart of an art fag whose masculinity has withered away long ago, an exceedingly effete and putridly pretentious museum owner played by Italian-American actor James Coco as an unfit preserver of Western Civilization, and American porn star Abigail Clayton aka Gail Lawrence (Dixie, Alex de Renzy's Femmes de Sade) as a feminist rapist who tries to be a born-again woman/mother, Bye Bye Monkey (a work that’s Italian title ‘Ciao maschio’ translates to something along the lines of “Goodbye to Manliness”) is a severely sardonic satire about the fact that Europa has lost its balls and has been turned into the cheap whore of the culture-less and cannibalistic mongrel beast that is the United States of America. 

 In Ferreri's fierce vision of America, New York City is a pre-apocalyptic hellhole that is policed by neo-Gestapo soldiers in gasmasks carrying machineguns and plagued by armies of hungry rats and degenerate European immigrants who have a hard time penetrating young American pussy, as all the young women are brainwashed feminists who have no morals and whose maternal instincts are next to nil. Goofy frog Gerard Lafayette (Gérard Depardieu) is a masters of electronics/jack-of-all trades handyman who lives in a shitty rat-infested basement and he works for a variety of eccentric clients, including the arrogant owner of an Ancient Rome-themed wax museum named Andreas Flaxman (James Coco) who rightfully believes, “Civilizations fade away…but the rats remain. The future belongs to the rats!,” as well as collective of hot yet crazed feminist actresses who perform pretentious twaddle for no one aside from themselves and their French handyman/passive sex slave. Lafayette is also friends with a nearly elderly Italian artist/sculptor named Luigi Nocello (played by acting maestro Marcello Mastroianni in a totally against-type role), who is well past his prime and has a serious problem attracting women, be they young or old, as the so-called fairer sex has lost all respect in men. When a feminist goes on the following rant, “Women are violent. Why do we always have to show women as victims or helpless…and why whitewash the fact that women are just as capable of violence as men are?” and Lafayette remarks, “Go ahead, shoot up your mouth! I shoot up my load!,” the handyman is hit over the hid with a glass Coca-Cola bottle by a fucked feminist actress and is subsequently raped by another feminist named Angelica (Abigail Clayton), who ironically falls in love with her victim during mid-rape, thus ushering in the beginning of a misbegotten romantic relationship in a zeitgeist where the war of the sexes has reached its zenith. After Lafayette and his friends happen upon the bloated corpse of cinematic super simian King Kong (apparently, this was a prop borrowed from the 1976 Dino De Laurentiis produced King Kong remake) on a NYC beach, Luigi finds the dead beast’s son which the young Frenchman decides to adopt despite Flaxman’s prophetic warning, “your freedom will be dead and gone forever.” Indeed, Lafayette, who later idiotically states, “I don’t give a fuck about race” like so many modern self-righteous brainwashed Europids, is symbolic of Western man’s suicidal altruism, as a man who cares more for a hairy baby beast than in his kind. Of course, as the film will ultimately demonstrate, Lafayette’s nihilistic altruism will lead to his demise just as the white world’s nonsensical altruism to mostly ungrateful and largely hostile nonwhite world is leading to its progressive demise (in that regard, Ferreri's film has only become all the more relevant).  Indeed, there is certainly something sick about a group of people who see adopting African savage children as the height of moral righteousness while at the same time not having biological children of their own.  Of course, like many American celebrities and moronic adoptees, Lafayette is petrified of spreading his seed and having children of his own, even though a beauteous blonde who has the body of a voluptuous teenage girl wants to jump his bones.

 Despite being a crazed chick who has suffered a full feminist lobotomy, Angelica decides to move in with Lafayette on a whim without permission from him even though she will not have sex with the blonde frog because, as she seemingly absurdly states, she loves him. Indeed, Lafayette, Angelica, and the monkey turn into a sort of dystopian nuclear family, though the fun does not last forever. Meanwhile, Flaxman is visited by a Svengali-like government bureaucrat from something called the “State Foundation of Psychological Research” who demands that the wax museum owner, who is working against American interests because he “supports the advance of civilized man,” change the faces of the wax figures of great Roman leader into American presidents in a scene symbolic of mongrel America’s post-WWII colonization of Europe and disgusting distortion of the history of Western Civilization. Threatening Flaxman with typical bogus bureaucratic “safety violations” if he does not comply, Flaxman is forced to change the face of Julius Caesar into JFK and Nero into Nixon, as if 20th century American presidents have any right to be compared to great Roman leaders. After being rejected by various women, including an old lady named Mrs. Toland (played by Geraldine Fitzgerald, who has had the distinguished honor of portraying both Laurence Olivier's wife and Rodney Dangerfield's mother-in-law) who digs dark meat (she has a portrait of a near-nude negro on her wall, which has caused her son to refuse to speak to her), as well as the group of feminist actresses, Luigi becomes seriously depressed and feels hopeless not just about his own future, but western civilization in general.  Indeed, after failing to swoon a feminist rapist by remarking how his generation invented the pill so that young women could be more sexually and sexually free, Luigi comes to the conclusion, “Nobody wants to listen to us [men] anymore,” and subsequently tells Flaxman, “You’re the worst […] you’re trying to preserve something that does not exist anymore. It’s time to destroy that image of a man!” Indeed, while Flaxman believes he is doing something righteous by preserving Occidental history in his own small way by running a wax museum dedicated to the greatness of the Roman Empire, he is really just a coward who is unwilling to accept the fact that all has been lost. Not surprisingly, Luigi opts for committing suicide via hanging and he leaves most of his possessions to Lafayette hoping that his family will blossom. Unfortunately, despite all of his pessimism, Luigi was a little too optimistic in regard to young Lafayette's future. 

 When Angelica tells Lafayette that she is pregnant, everything comes crashing down for simian-loving frog bastard. Indeed, after Angelica tells him that she is knocked up in a serious and loving fashion while the two are sitting on the beach, Lafayette—a self-centered man-boy who is certainly lacking in maturity—complains to his girlfriend, “what is going to become of me?,” to which she soundly replies, “What is going to become of you?! What is going to become of us?” Needless to say, Angelic is pissed and runs away, but not before stating to Lafayette, “You and your damn monkey. I hope you’ll be happy together.” After making a half-hearted attempt to chase down Angelica and predictably failing, Lafayette comes home to his basement apartment, only to see that his beloved monkey has been killed and is being eaten by rabid rats. With nowhere to go, Lafayette goes to visit Flaxman, who is acting out a scene from Act 3, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar all by himself and becomes rather annoyed by the young Frenchman's unexpected arrival. When Lafayette cries about his dead monkey, Flaxman spits in his face and states in a scornful fashion, “All this grief over a monkey…A civilization disappears. You disgust me.” Ultimately, Flaxman attempts to get Lafayette to kill him, but he does not have the testicular fortitude, so the wax museum owner kills himself instead and accidentally sets his business on fire in the process. In a rather allegorical scene, Lafayette stares like a moron as a small model reconstruction of ancient Rome burns while a degenerate humanoid-like ape (aka man of the future, or a late stage version of what Nietzsche described as the 'Last Man') stands in foreground. Having no reason to live, Lafayette also lets himself burn up in the wax museum. Notably, the final scene of the film features Angelica naked on a beach with Lafayette’s child. As the conclusion of Bye Bye Monkey demonstrates, it is no surprise that Ferreri would later direct a film entitled The Future Is Woman (1984) aka Il futuro è donna

Notably, auteur Marco Ferreri once stated, “The values that once existed no longer exist. The family, the bourgeoisie—I’m talking about values, morals, economic relationships. They no longer serve a purpose. My films are reactions translated into images.” Indubitably, Ferreri took this personal philosophy to cinema one more step further with Bye Bye Monkey, which is not just a critique of the death of the bourgeoisie, but an absurdist allegorical depiction of the death of the West in its entirety, as well as the decidedly deleterious anti-culture/anti-European effects of American hegemony. Indeed, Ferreri’s film translates into sardonic cinematic form the sort of apocalyptic pessimism that lapsed fascist philosopher Emil M. Cioran—a man sometimes regarded as the last great European philosopher—spent his entire life brooding over. Unquestionably, despite the film’s overriding satirical tone, there is a somber feeling throughout, thus indicating that Ferreri was not celebrating that death of the Occident like so many of his cinematic compatriots were, but instead, cynically mourning it. Interestingly, in the highly worthwhile documentary Marco Ferreri: The Director Who Came from the Future (2007), the director states that he is “50% feminist and 50% misogynist,” and in none of the filmmaker’s other works is this more clear than in Bye Bye Monkey, as a work where women have become morally retarded rapists yet where men have also become emasculated boys and senile old men who do not have what it takes to properly tame or satisfy the female species. While featuring incessant full-body nudity and even female-on-male rape, Ferreri’s flick is hardly arousing, as a post-counter-culture piece that the depicts influence of so-called sexual liberation as being largely corrosive, hence why the character Angelica says she will not have sex with protagonist Lafayette because she actually loves him, as sex has become meaningless to such a despoiled woman.  In terms of cinema history, I cannot think of a film that more hilariously depicts what German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche described as the ‘last man,’ which as a passive pansy that takes no chances and wallows in creature comforts, is the antithesis the Übermensch. While Nietzsche believed that the last man is the final goal of what western civilization supposedly sought out to achieve, in Ferreri's film, the last man is a production of Americanization and late capitalism, with America being the culturally and spiritually void bastard son of Europe that, like all resentful people(s) that lack culture and civilization, seeks to destroy anything that reminds it of its' own innate inferiority, hence why the wax museum owner is forced to replace the faces of great Roman leaders with those of American presidents.  Indeed, there is certainly something wrong with a nation where a rampantly heterosexual beast like King Kong even succumbs to death in an undignified fashion on a beach where he should have been raping countless chicks.

-Ty E

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