The Howl Review
In 1968 with young people and the intelligentsia on the point of revolting against the old order and its outdated mores, many film-makers saw their role as provocateurs of such movements. The likes of Godard and other members of the nouvelle vague wanted to fight imperialism and exploitation, and their movies celebrated rebellion and the possibility of change. A youngish Tinto Brass smelt what was in the air and convinced Dino De Laurentiis to fund the free form L'Urlo(The Howl).
Starting in a police station as a pinstriped suited lover bails out his rebellious girlfriend and then riffing on his shame driven proposal of marriage through dreams and allegory, The Howl makes the case for sexual liberation much as later Brass would continue to thump his tub for the rights of bored good looking women to take their togs off and experiment. Images that re-appear in his filmography such as policeman as comical agents of order and endowed women free of proper support crop up here in thoroughly silly ways with a pretentious sense of social comment lobbed in after them.
Brass' film jazzes along from notion to dream to reality to escape, and frankly I didn't care one jot whether his lovers find freedom through cannibalism, sexual escape, or rampant nudity. It all makes very little impression other than that of self indulgence and the philosophy behind it is completely dumb. It could be a hippie love fest, a call to lover's arms or an indictment of something, but I was too bored to care.
The Disc - A very battered print with lots of damage at the edges, some seeming tape noise and deeply murky contrast make this a difficult viewing experience. The sound is less problematic with fewer clicks and pops and decent clarity, but still this is far from exceptional as a presentation. Tinto turns up to comment on his genius and his ability to keep the narrative straight is quite endearing as watching without his commentary is thoroughly perplexing. Tinto speaks in English is very complimentary about Aumont and gives some insight into all the in-jokes within the film. A largely forgettable photo gallery is included, as well as trailers for Attraction and Deadly Sweet both directed by Brass and released by Cult Epics