It wasn't until 1999 that filmmaker, Ruggero Deodato, attended his first horror festival. And he only entertained the idea of it for a friend. A friend who insisted Deodato was a horror film director. However, Deodato was skeptical and wasn't sure he wanted to attend. He believed that his films indeed were not apart of the horror genre at all. In fact, he didn't consider himself attached to any one genre because he was constantly trying to evolve as a filmmaker which meant taking on all projects. Projects like "I Ragazzi del Muretto," which translates to "The Boys on the Wall," was an episodic television show for younger audiences. During that time, Ruggero also made several commercials. Helping to perfect his craft. But, begrudgingly, he agreed to go to his first horror festival. Even though, he admits, he is not a fan of the genre at all. He considers classics like Psycho a true horror film. Other horror films, specifically with a lot of gore, he does not like at all.
Growing up, Ruggero Deodato lived in a nice neighborhood in Rome. And it just so happened that many actors and directors lived there as well. Due to his ability speak well and play the piano, he would date the daughters of the directors that lived in the neighborhood. At 15 his father really started to crack down on him, telling him that he needed to study more. But his mother said that studying wasn't important. Only being 15 years old, Ruggero Deodato didn't know what to do.
In 1947, Italy held a referendum to decide between Monarchy or Republic. He used to shout, "Long live the Monarchy!", because his mother came from a noble family. But on the other side someone shouted back at him, "Long live the Republic!" It happen to be Renzo Rossellini. Son of filmmaker, Roberto Rossellini. Though on opposite sides politically, Ruggero and Renzo became great friends. Due to this friendship, Ruggero became very close to the Rossellini family. Through this relationship he met stars like Ingrid Bergman. Also famous photographer, Cartier Bresson. For a week he followed Bresson around, soaking up his knowledge.
Not long after hanging around the Rossellini estate, Roberto Rossellini himself asked Deodato to help him out. The help Roberto was referring to was to be an assistant director. For being as young as he was, Deodato was elated. So much so that shortly after, he came home and told his Dad that he was going to make movies. Between 1959 and 1963, the young Ruggero Deodato worked as Rossellini's assistant director on 6 films. The second film he made with Rossellini, Garibaldi, he helped bandage the wounded. Reason being, the Sicilian actors did not get along with each other because there was political turmoil amongst the neighboring cities. So, the film had war scenes in it, and the actors were sharpening their bayonets and hurting each other. Turning Deodato into an on-set doctor not an assistant director. Because of this, one day when Roberto Rossellini was talking to fellow producers, he said the film was made with a lot of help. Ruggero Deodato's help specifically. Which had a domino effect in jump-starting Deodato's career. Soon after working with veteran director, Bragaglia, the calls to employ Deodato started to come in. Before he knew it he was compounding experience after experience until he had about 60 movies as an assistant director under his belt. Only was it then that he officially fell in love with cinema.
"Deodato Holocaust is a fun and informative glimpse into the man behind one of the most controversial films ever made."
The documentary goes into further detail of the man behind much more than The Last Cannibal World (aka Jungle Holocaust), Cut and Run, and of course, Cannibal Holocaust. A man with a 60 years of filmmaking experience. A man who perhaps is the creator of the "found footage" film genre. A man that has made more movies in a year than most do in a lifetime. A man that has gone on to inspire a generation of filmmakers. Filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, Oliver Stone, and Eli Roth. This documentary isn't just for horror film fans but fans of film in general. Don't miss this truly fascinating and in depth look at a renegade artist ushering in a new era of film.
The work of Brazilian Filmmaker Felipe M. Guerra, Deodato Holocaust recently had its world premiere at the Fantaspoa Film Festival.