What? (1972) aka Che?
Genre: Sexy Comedy
Country: Italy | France | West Germany | Director: Roman Polanski
Language: English or Italian (2 separate audio tracks) | Subtitles: None
Aspect ratio: Cinemascope 2.35:1 | Length: 113mn
Bdrip H264 Mkv - 1280x544 - 23.976fps - 6.56gb
A young American woman (Sydne Rome) traveling through Italy finds herself in a strange Mediterranean villa where nothing seems right. Her visit becomes an absurd, decadent, oversexed version of "Alice in Wonderland", with Marcello Mastroianni as the maddest of mad hatters and Roman Polanski a kinky March hare.
Pretty much Roman Polanski's rarest film these days – the print for the DVD was supposedly stolen from producer Carlo Ponti's vault - What? is a surprisingly enjoyable reimagining of Alice in Wonderland as a 70s sex comedy with Sydne Rome escaping a trio of inept rapists via cable car to a beachside villa where she encounters various human equivalents of Lewis Carroll's creations trapped in their own perverse fantasy worlds.
Thus the White Rabbit becomes a doddering caretaker, Tweedledum and Tweedle Dee a pair of ping pong playing layabouts, the walrus a priest on a lilo, the March Hare Polanski's harpoon-wielding Mosquito ("That filthy little dwarf!"), the White Knight Hugh Griffith's dying patriarch and the Mad Hatter Marcello Mastroianni's ex-pimp, ping pong ball crusher and tiger impersonator. Did I mention the American tourists? It has it's own dreamlike logic and acceptance of the absurd that will certainly alienate some viewers as it did most contemporary critics: the only thing that people find hard to accept in this beautiful sun drenched locale are logic and reasons, preferring to stay hidden in their own recurring obsessions.
Rome isn't much of an actress but she does have the ability to retain an air of innocence even when completely naked, which is the main demand of the part, and the film is surprisingly well cast, with Mastroianni relishing the chance to play laid-back sleazy and Polanski himself at his funniest when delivering offscreen death threats. It's all nonsense and knows its nonsense – even the end, explaining away its own arbitrary absurdity while revealing the film's title – but if you're simpatico, it's surprisingly seductive nonsense.
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