death and love and all that rot

Rupert Everett as Francesco Dellamorte

Rupert Everett as Francesco Dellamorte

A million years ago (or last year) I said I was going to talk about one of my favourite films, Dellamorte Dellamore, aka Cemetery Man. This is an appropriate time of the year to, ah, dig into it, so let’s go.

I’ve talked before about zombies as a metaphor for the outcast, the misfit, the forgotten. I really hate that the zombie has been beaten to death – again and again – and turned into a target, something entertainingly expendable because of their state of being. Ain’t it fun to watch them take a bullet and splatter? And we don’t have to feel guilty about it. Uh huh. Francesco Dellamorte shows us just how that came to be.

Francesco is the caretaker of a cemetery, which keeps him very busy. In addition to routine maintenance, he’s been dealing with the unfortunate occurrence of the dead rising from their graves, and he has the vexing task of taking them down and putting them back where they belong. It’s getting very old.

It’s not like he has a lot to keep him otherwise occupied, mind. His less than all there assistant, Gnaghi, isn’t much of a conversationalist, but at least he has a pulse. It’s a lonely, boring, and thankless existence. And then he falls in love.

This is an intensely existentialist film, told in a quirky-humorous and kinky-passionate dellamorte dellamore cemeterymanner. Both Francesco and Gnaghi are going through their own relationship issues, Gnaghi more successfully, as he accepts his sweetie for what she is – well, what he was able to salvage of her, anyway – while Francesco is having more difficulty with his amour.

Things are intense for Francesco, and growing more so. Aside from his nightly roundup of the Returners, he’s dealing with unresolved issues of his own. Just when he reaches the apex of his desperation and fully realized impotency, he pops his cap and commits the ultimate crime. And no one cares. In fact, the more reckless and insane he gets with his out-and-out protest against everything, the more he goes unnoticed. He realizes can do anything – any fucking thing – and it just doesn’t matter.

He and Gnaghi are driven to the edge. Literally. The fucking edge of existence itself. And…. And.

Dellamorte DellamoreAnd this is the thing about Dellamorte Dellamore. I have never seen a riper example of what it is to confront the self, and the destruction that ensues. Or deconstruction. And possibly, reconstruction.

I always like a little humour and a dash of sexy along with my existential angst, and this delivers bucketloads. Rupert Everett as Francesco Dellamorte is as hot as I’ve ever seen him, and I admit, that could be due to my penchant for naked men in the midst of a philosophical crisis. Nah, he really is that hot.

Anyway, that’s what I came away with. I don’t know whether that’s what the writer, Tiziano Sclavi or the director, Michele Soavi intended. As a matter of fact, I’ve just found those names in the process of writing this, and I’ve been able to find next to nothing about the film. But that doesn’t matter. I highly, highly recommend this one. It can be taken on any level – it doesn’t have to snare you within the tangled roots of existence to be enjoyed. It really is damn funny. And clever. And kinda gross. And…. And I’ve said enough. You watch it, now, and decide.

I did notice that there was supposed to be a sequel in the works around last year, but I haven’t heard more about it. It’ll be interesting to see where that goes.

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