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The Ape Woman 15 rating

A man discovers a woman (three-time César winner Annie Girardot) whose body is entirely covered with hair, and marries her to exploit her as a funfair attraction.

Drama 1963 94 mins

Director: Marco Ferreri

Overview

Maria (three-time César winner Annie Girardot) is a young woman suffering from excessive body hair who is discovered in a convent by an unscrupulous entrepreneur and paraded as a fairground attraction. This is a really tender and moving film whose pathos is enhanced by the fact that, like David Lynch’s The Elephant Man which came 15 years later, it is based on a true story.

Carlo Ponti, the producer (and Sophia Loren's ex-husband) convinced the director Marco Fererri to rewrite a happier ending to make the film more appealing to the 1964 Cannes jury. The creative compromise seemed to pay off, earning Ferreri a Palme d’Or nomination. The version seen here is the bleaker one, closer to the director’s artistic vision and, indeed, the historical truth.