Digi-Schlock: PRIVATE VICES, PUBLIC VIRTUES (Mondo Macabro Blu-Ray)

You can count on Mondo Macabro to fearlessly dive into areas of international cult cinema where other companies would tread lightly.  With their release of Private Vices, Public Virtues, they’ve not only tackled the work of a director who is mostly forgotten in the U.S. but also picked one of his wildest and most privvpubv-blucontroversial titles.  To their credit, they’ve created a release that is as eye-opening as the film itself.

The transfer used here is taken from the negative and offers a richly colored, carefully detailed image.  It captures that glossy, hazy look of this film, a style so unique to the ’70s, with great skill.  Both English and Italian mono tracks, the latter with English subtitles, are offered in lossless form.  Each track offers a clean, robust sound free of distortion.

There’s also a potent little set of extras included here for those intrigued by this film’s blend of social critique and stylistic/carnal indulgence.  Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect…

Michael Brooke on Miklos Janczo (16:34): critic and historian Brooke covers a lot of ground in a compact running time here.  He walks the viewer through the Hungarian director’s career, with discussions of several films and the salient stylistic and thematic characteristics of his work.  Private Vices gets a lot of discussion here as a kind of turning point in his career and there’s some interesting commentary on how Janczo shifted his artistic focus multiple times in the latter half of his career to keep it afloat.  Overall, it offers a nice mix of intellectual content and film buff enthusiasm.

Giovanna Gagliardo Interview (30:53): this in-depth sitdown allows the film’s screenwriter and assistant director to go through the experience of making the film from multiple angles.  She starts off with info on the real incident that inspired the film and how they fictionalized it before getting into how the spirit of the 1970’s influenced the film, how the writing process involved a lot of reworking, the substantial influence the location had on the filming and the complex nature of her work as an assistant director.  There’s lots of great behind-the-scenes detail here as well as thoughtful musings on the film and its themes.


Pamela Villoresi Interview (19:18): a charming interview with a member of the film’s acting ensemble.  Her comments are warm and suffused with nostalgia as she discusses how the film captured the freedom of the time in which it was made.  She offers a lot of memories from the shoot, including observations on her castmates and the challenges of shooting the crowd scenes.  She also has some interesting thematic thoughts, placing the film’s abundant nudity in the context of an Austro-Hungarian tradition of celebrating the body and discussing how the film had an overriding sense of death that contrasted with a lightness in how it presented the day-to-day life of its protagonists.

Other extras: a theatrical trailer, the always-colorful Mondo Macabro promo reel

To read Schlockmania’s film review of Private Vices, Public Virtues, click here.

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