Women of the World (1963)

La Donna nel Mondo hustled its way into theaters months after the success of Gualtiero Jacopetti, Paolo Cavara and Franco Prosperi’s Mondo Cane. Where the first film was unfocused and just shows, quite literaly, a dog’s life, the sequel lives up to its name: you are going to see women all of the world.

We start in Israel, where we see women start training for their military service, which is soon juxtaposed with the island of Roger Hopkins, who has 84 wives and 52 children.

That difference bwteen women is the highlight of much of the footage, showing women longing for statues and their mates, who instead parade about in full regalia in New Guinea ritual.

There’s a trip to Cannes — this happens in so many mondos that I’ve lost track by this point — as well as a camera club (that’s where Bettie Page got her start, allowing men to pay her to take photos of her as she posed; incel weirdos did not get their start via the internet, dear friends), dude ranches where divorcees get the marital bliss they were missing, prostitution, Japanese women diving for pearls and getting their eyes more Westernized, plastic surgery, forced tattoos, Thalidomine babies and women screaming at God in Lourdes. There’s all that and so much more, all concentrating on, yes, the women of the world, but mostly wanting to show you plenty of flesh along the way.

This movie is dedicated to Italian exploitation films Belinda Lee, who died in a car crash that also injured her boyfriend Jacopetti: “To Belinda Lee, who throughout this long journey accompanied and helped us with love” appears on screen with ten seconds of silence. Jacopetti would be buried next to her thirty years later, never falling out of love with her, despite a lifetime mired in the sheer muck and grime of the mondo.

You can watch it on Amazon Prime or right here:

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