Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Best Onscreen Debaucheries

Oh, what joy it is to fall into the arms of Bacchus when you have a good reason for it! And what joy it is to watch film characters go insane in celebration, in sadness and in the face of imminent danger. Heavy hedonism, nudity, bodily fluids flying around and people releasing their demons often mark a good onscreen party. Of course, the term debauchery meant different things at different times; whereas for most of us in the present day the epitome of a debauchery would be a drunken trip to Las Vegas and a subsequent marriage to a stranger, to the 19th century public a debauchery would include overstepping the social/moral expectations, like in the case of Scarlett O’Hara. The most important factors in appreciation of the onscreen debaucheries are the feelings of camaraderie one feels for the characters and their antics and a certain fascination for the lack of constraint they display.

Let’s start in the chronological order, according to the period in which the film is set:

Mulan, 1998
Dir.: Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook
With: Ming Na, Eddie Murphy

Set in the 4th century AD, Mulan is full of modern references, and the ancestor ghosts’ party at the end of the film used to be my favourite onscreen celebration when I was little. (Watch from 2:00)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1975
Dir.: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
With: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, et al

Sir Galahad the Chaste, one of King Arthur's knights, loses his way and enters a mysterious castle populated by 150 virgins. His purity is put to a great test. Although no actual debauchery is allowed to take place by Galahad’s buddies, the promise of it is hard to resist. (Watch from 1:00)

Gone with the Wind, 1939
Dir.: Victor Fleming
With: Clarke Gable, Vivien Leigh

Scarlett O’Hara, having buried her first husband and bored out of her wits, defies lots of rules by agreeing to dance at the ball. Can't place the video here, so please just click on the link below.
The Barber of Siberia, 1998
Dir.: Nikita Mikhalkov
With: Julia Ormond, Oleg Menshikov

This Russian-American production follows an American lady and her adventures in Tsarist Russia. She subsequently flirts with the local male population and goes on a date with a general to a traditional Russian (religious!) celebration. (Watch from 2:00)

Diner, 1982
Dir.: Barry Levinson
With: Steve Guttenberg, Daniel Stern

Two buddies, a depressing bar, sad music and a tired middle-aged stripper sound like a great setting for a mood change.

Old School, 2003
Dir.: Todd Phillips
With: Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson

Frank the Tank!

The Hangover, 2009
Dir.: Todd Phillips
With: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifinakis et al

The enigmatic end credits. Again, please click on the link.

The Matrix Reloaded, 2003
Dir.: Wachowski brothers
With: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne

The only party set in the future in this list. Zionists are grinding against each other in this subterranean, sweaty rave.

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