Director: Marco Ferreri
Writer: Rafael Azcona and Marco Ferreri
Starring: Ugo Tognazzi, Annie Girardot, Achille Majeroni, and Filippo Pompa Marcelli
The Ape Woman has received a new release from Cult Films on Blu Ray and Digital, being presented in 4K for the first time. When the film was originally made the ending was seen as too challenging for the 1964 Cannes festival and was replaced with a happier ending. The original ending has been restored for this release, as well as the alternative ending being available as an extra feature. The film has long been considered a classic of Italian cinema, chosen as one of the 100 films to be preserved as important to Italy’s history as part of the 100 film italiani da salvare (100 films to be saved).
Annie Girardot stars as Marie, the titled character, who lives a sheltered life in a convent due to her medical condition. Antonio (Ugo Tognazzi) meets Marie and promises her a new life full of new sights and places. He quickly turns sinister and uses her as part of a show to make money.
The film is a tragic story, inspired by the story of Julia Pastrana. It’s full of heart breaking moments and Marie is a really sympathetic character. Annie Girardot gives a great performance that brings her to life and makes you feel the struggle she goes with. The original ending is how this film should be seen. It’s bleaker and more fitting of the story. It’s also how co-writer and director Marco Ferreri originally intended the film to be seen.
The story deals with exploitation, abuse, and discrimination in a really powerful way. Marie is completely used by Antonia at first and at times it is hard to watch, as the film progresses their relationship becomes more complex. It’s with their relationship that the film really shines. It’s a truly sad story and it still resonates with its themes today.
The Ape Woman is a classic film, that’s been given the justice it deserves with the new release. The film looks great, the story is still emotional, and the extras are all excellent. Having both endings available is the best way to present this film and it’s something special to be able to experience them back to back.
The Ape Woman is on Blu-ray and digital 11 October from CultFilms