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LE PETOMANE: FIN-DE-SIÈCLE FARTISTE

USA, 1998 (MIFF 2000, Documentaries)

Director: Igor Vamos

Under the stage name 'Le Petomane', Joseph Pujol's musical anus left 19th century Parisian audiences rolling in the aisles. Despite drawing enormous crowds and pocketing box office fortunes, the 'special' nature of Pujol's unique talent has seen him forgotten by history. Pujol first took the stage in 1892. He shocked middle-class French sensibilities with his amazing ability to fart popular tunes and construct an entire show around amplified flatulence. Scholars, historians, art critics and fans heatedly debate Pujol's reputation: vulgar opportunist or creative genius who anticipated modern performance art? Resplendent in a red velvet tuxedo with a specially stitched flap to accommodate his 'instrument', Pujol's work speaks for itself. Both a scrupulously researched examination of a bizarre showbiz phenomenon and a wildly humourous look at one of nature's true curiosities, Le Petomane is totally compelling.

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