Philippe, Ugo, Marcello and Michael are four good friends who share the same taste for good food and occasionally get together to organize a feast. “But this time it’s different,” warns Ugo, a restaurant owner who brought with him his whole set of kitchen knives. Naturally, their relatives are quite sceptical about their true intentions for this weekend but let them go. Having taken leave of their families, the four individuals then go into an old family house that belongs to Philip, a judge by profession.
Gradually the veil is lifted on their fatal project they intend to surrender to the delights of sins … to death. Mashed chestnuts, cockerel, quail, oysters, everything is there to fill their stomachs, but soon enough they begin to feel lonely. While Marcello, an airline pilot, invites women with loose morals to keep them company. Andrea, a primary school teacher, too, is joining the party. She will stay with each of them until the very end. While the whores will leave earlier, disgusted by such a vice!
Marco Ferreri gathered his favourite actors to make this film. The four friends kept their own names to act. This movie has been characterized as physiologically by the director himself who explains that the idea of the film came after sharing a few meals with the protagonists.
Each character has childish ways. As the lock-in goes on, they will regress and return to their mother’s world they never really left. Philip, for example, still lives with his nurse and has not yet been weaned. Michael practice dancing in a tutu. Ugo is married to a castrating woman. Finally Marcello behaves like a kid who can’t help fooling around.
This feature has caused a scandal at Cannes. But Ferreri, when making a daring film, never intended to cause such a fuss. If the public does not support the mirror that is shown to them, it is not his fault. He simply wanted to make a critical film that is both realistic and dreamlike.
However one question still remains: why on earth do they want to commit suicide? Perhaps the answer can be found in the tirade of Michael “Vanitas vanitatis”. They want to escape this vain world.