The film “Bingo Bongo” is a widely known Italian family comedy film released in 1982. It was directed by Pasquale Festa Campanile, a director best known for his 1963 film “The Leopard”.
Bingo Bongo stars Adriano Celentano as a Tarzan-esque character that’s able to communicate with every kind of animal. The film begins with the story of how Bingo Bongo was stranded in an African jungle as a young baby when his plane crashed (in story elements very similar to and in parody of the original Tarzan). The baby was thrown out of the plane by parachute at the last moment and subsequently adopted by chimpanzees.
As the years pass, and Bingo Bongo becomes a grown man (although still wearing his parachute harness) with animalistic behaviour (due to his jungle upbringing), he is hunted and captured by an expedition and brought back to an anthropology institution in Milan. Although he is intended to be studied and shut in a cage, Bingo proves not only to be extremely strong, but highly intelligent and perceptive too. One of the female researchers, Laura, catches him eye and he develops a crush on her. He also bonds with her pet chimpanzee Renato due to his jungle skills that come naturally to him. Laura the researcher on the other hand, attempts to reintegrate Bingo Bongo into human society.
Bingo Bongo finally manages to run away from the anthropology institution and hides at Laura’s house, who continues her efforts to reintegrate him into a normal life. At first she makes only slow progress, but when the institute’s director drops by Bingo Bongo manages to convincingly pass himself off as human (complete with fully developed understanding of the human language), he also throws the director off his suspicions by introducing himself as Laura’s boyfriend.
Sadly its unrequited love as Laura continues to rebuff his romantic advances. Heartbroken, Bingo returns to Africa with Renato. In time, it’s revealed that the animals all around the world see him as their ambassador to humanity who will vouch for a more humane treatment of animals, thanks to his ability to speak to both animals and humans. He returns to the Milan institute, where he delivers his message and Laura confesses (in ape language) that she does love him after all.
The film ends with Bingo Bongo taking up his work as animal ambassador – most notably by calming down King Kong, who later attends his wedding to Laura.
Bill Weston writes on a number of subjects including Bingo.
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