Tales of Ordinary Madness

Watch Tales of Ordinary Madness

  • 1981
  • 1 hr 41 min
  • 6.7  (2,932)

Tales of Ordinary Madness is a raw and unfiltered exploration of the human condition, directed by the legendary Italian filmmaker Marco Ferreri. The film follows the journey of Charles Serking (played brilliantly by Ben Gazzara), a struggling writer who is dealing with a serious case of writer's block and trying to navigate the minefield of his own personal demons.

Set in the gritty streets and bars of Los Angeles, the film is an unapologetic and confrontational look at the darker side of humanity, depicting the seedier aspects of sex, drugs, and alcohol through Charles' experiences with a series of women who represent different facets of his own psyche.

The film opens with Charles attempting to enter a hotel room but finding it locked. Distraught, he begins to wander the streets of Hollywood, where he meets and quickly becomes infatuated with Cass (played to perfection by Ornella Muti), a beautiful and enigmatic artist. Their relationship becomes a focal point of the film, with Charles desperately trying to win her over, despite her indifference and her own issues with drugs and alcohol.

Throughout the film, we see Charles drift in and out of relationships with women, all of whom seem to both challenge and comfort him in different ways. There is Vera, his seductive ex-wife who is now married and pregnant with another man's child, and there is the wild and unpredictable Betty (played with electric energy by Susan Tyrrell), who he meets in a bar and who becomes both a confidante and a source of chaos in his life.

As Charles navigates these relationships and attempts to get his writing career back on track, he is forced to confront his own demons, including his alcoholism, his fear of intimacy, and the crippling self-doubt that has left him creatively paralysed.

The film is shot in a stark, naturalistic style that only serves to heighten the emotional intensity of the performances. Gazzara, Muti and Tyrrell are all masterful in their roles, delivering nuanced and complex performances that capture the essence of their characters' pain and desperation.

One of the film's standout sequences is a harrowing depiction of Charles as he undergoes a detox in a hospital, writhing and screaming in agony as he hallucinates the faces of the women who have haunted him throughout the film. It's an incredibly powerful scene that really brings home the extent of Charles' addiction and the toll it has taken on his body and mind.

Ultimately, Tales of Ordinary Madness is a searing and uncompromising portrait of a man grappling with his own demons, rendered with intense emotional depth and unflinching honesty. It's not a film for everyone, but for those willing to take the journey with Charles, it is an unforgettable cinematic experience.

Tales of Ordinary Madness
Tales of Ordinary Madness doesn't appear to be available from any streaming services.
Add this movie to your Watchlist to get notified when it's available.
  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    1 hr 41 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.7  (2,932)