Snack Bar Budapest


Reviewed by: Paul Griffiths

Tinto Brass (of 'that' Caligula fame) has a reputation for investing his erotica with an engagingly comic heart and satirical edge, while passing the pieces off with more cinematic flare than most titillation titles. Or so I'm told.

If that's your bag though, there's little evidence of it in Snack Bar Budapest.

It was made in 1988 and just reeks of it. Most of the stylising, from people's dodgy costumes, to the music and the neon-lit, graffiti-sprayed sets look as though they would be more at home in one of those pretentious 80s pop videos that tried hard to tell a 'story'.

The tale here involves a disbarred lawyer, Avvocato, recently out of prison, played by Giancarlo Giannini, the ill-fated Italian cop in Hannibal. He looks like he's aged well, to be honest and plays a pretty world-weary and grizzled geezer here too.

While supporting his girlfriend Milena (Raffaella Baracchi) to an overnight abortion clinic, Avvocato checks into the Snack Bar Budapest hotel. His partner Sapo (Philippe Leotard), who is also Milena's girlfriend, advises him to contact the local gang leader Molecola (Francois Negret) for some work. He agrees to help Molecao realise his plans to found a cash mountain super-casino in town, along with his horde of bovine prostitutes, by forcing the residents to move out. At the centre of the racket and development are the gentle family running the Snack Bar Budapest.

If that sounds intriguing, it's not. The plot is blatantly holey and wholly bland. Despite its wishy-washy efforts at European madcap action, this is bleak stuff. There's no warmth from or interest in the unanimously oddball characters and the gratuitous bum and boob shots thrown in for no more reason than bizarre titillation are, frankly, distasteful and disturbing. Where is the merit in the prolonged full frontal nudity shots of a female corpse being lugged around? I'd like to think Brass was having a deeply black poke at the demands of the audience as voyeur - but that just ain't the truth.

Sure, Brass can find a frame or two, but that is the only thing remotely positive that can be said about this bilge. Definitely a curio that some might want to spend the time to sitting through - but when there's clearly better films out there, would you really want to?

Reviewed on: 15 Jul 2006
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Snack Bar Budapest packshot
Gangsters, hotels and hookers - European 80s-style.
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Director: Tinto Brass

Writer: Tinto Brass

Starring: Giancarlo Giannini, Philippe Leotard, Francois Negret, Raffaella Baracchi, Sylvie Orcier, Giogio Tirabassi

Year: 1988

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Italy


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