Director Mario Fererri reenacts the events leading up to the Battle of the Little Big Horn in this wild, highly stylized surreal farce set in and around a gaping excavation for a huge urban renewal project in 1974 Paris. The anachronistic backdrop highlights the incongruity of the broad comic characterizations of real life figures George Armstrong Custer, Sitting Bull, and Buffalo Bill.Written by
Marco Ferreri's "Touche pas a la femme blanche" - "Don't Touch the White Woman" in English - could easily be an extension of "Little Big Man" or a movie version of "A People's History of the United States", although it came out a few years before Howard Zinn published his famous book. It portrays the US government's crusade to exterminate the Indians, reenacted in 1970s Paris (complete with references to Pres. Nixon, and even Watergate). Marcello Mastroianni makes a chilling Gen. Custer, but Michel Piccoli is quite funny as Buffalo Bill: he sounded as though he was trying to put on an American accent while speaking French!
I read about how Marco Ferreri played a major role in the changing Italian cinema of the '60s and '70s. Certainly this film shows that. Specifically, as the United States had been taking a different look at its own history - our own glasnost and perestroika, you might say - Europe was also challenging the American cultural myth (no surprise there). I definitely recommend the movie. Also starring Catherine Deneuve and Ugo Tognazzi.
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