Four wealthy male friends gather together (with some prostitutes and a teacher) in a large house to eat themselves to death...and yep, it's about as gross as you just imagined. Once LA GRANDE BOUFFE gets going, it's almost non-stop debauchery, farting, shitting, gorging, vomiting, whoring, burping, fucking and death. It's great.
In the wrong hands, a story idea like this could turn out to be a disaster, but luckily for us, it was written and directed by Marco Ferreri and has four of the best actors of all time in the lead roles: Marcello Mastroianni, Michel Piccoli, Philippe Noiret and Ugo Tognazzi. Andrea Ferreol is also very disturbing as the seemingly normal person, who turns out to get way too much pleasure out of actively cheering on these four men to commit a very slow and painful suicide.
According to the disc extras, LA GRANDE BOUFFE caused quite a stir at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival and I can see why; it's a pretty messed up movie (especially back then), but as a commentary on consumerism, I think the film does a excellent job and I would absolutely love to see a modern day remake that is a 1,000 times more grotesque.
Double-feature with Pasolini's SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM for a truly fun evening.
[As a complete side note (that has nothing to do with the review): I'm curious as to what the legal ramifications would be for the character of Andrea after the film was over and the police became involved? I have no idea if assisted suicide was legal in France in 1973, but even if so, you could argue that what she did went well beyond "assisting".]
Look at the use of mirrors in this shot.