Le Petomane: Fin De Siecle Fartiste

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Biography, Documentary

What is this, a joke? Could there really have been a 19th century French cabaret artiste whose claim to fame was his "musical anus?" There was: Born in 1857 in Marseilles, Joseph Pujol possessed the ability to control with great precision the expulsion of air from his rectum. Pujol worked as a baker and aspired to a career playing trombone, but discovered...read more

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What is this, a joke? Could there really have been a 19th century French cabaret artiste whose claim to fame was his "musical anus?" There was: Born in 1857 in Marseilles, Joseph Pujol possessed the ability to control with great precision the

expulsion of air from his rectum. Pujol worked as a baker and aspired to a career playing trombone, but discovered in the army that he could entertain the hell out of his barracks mates by farting and squirting water from his butt. He adopted stage name "Le Petomane" -- roughly translated, the

fart maniac -- and worked up a comedy act that became the cornerstone of a surprisingly durable and lucrative career. The slightly sad-faced Pujol had fin de siecle Parisians rolling in the aisles as he imitated the sounds of cannon fire and ripping cloth, smoked cigarettes, played

the flute and blew out candles with his rear. While this documentary is a rather pedestrian affair, the subject matter is irresistible, as is the sight of various scholars trying to sound scholarly on the subject of farting. Where else will you learn that composer Erik Satie incorporated sly

allusions to Le Petomane into his compositions (or, for that matter, that the musician once set his own behind on fire while lighting farts), or that Sigmund Freud and the king of Belgium attended the fartiste's performances? Or that Pujol's lifelong anger at Thomas Edison (Pujol's grandson

declares that his grandfather cursed Edison every time a light was turned on) stemmed from the inventor's having used a film of Le Petomane to premiere his newest invention: the kinetophone olefactograph. Smell-o-vision, anyone? And hey -- next time you watch BLAZING SADDLES, you'll know why Mel

Brooks named his character Governor Lepetomane.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: What is this, a joke? Could there really have been a 19th century French cabaret artiste whose claim to fame was his "musical anus?" There was: Born in 1857 in Marseilles, Joseph Pujol possessed the ability to control with great precision the expulsion of… (more)

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