Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ruggero Deodato - "Cannibal Holocaust" DVD

This 1980 production is a legendary piece of grindhouse/exploitation and mondo cinema, and has noticeably inspired later-day film juggernauts like 'The Blair Witch Project', and certainly Eli Roth's explorations of taboos and sado-masochistic brutalism. Banned in many countries for years, this film is still a vile, repulsive, and shocking display of transgression and man's own inhumanity, greed, and brazen disrespect towards other cultures.

Featuring some pretty wooden acting, and amateurish 'home-video' filmwork, 'Cannibal Holocaust' is the tale of a group of young filmmakers who travel to the deepest, most unexplored rainforests of Brazil to document the primitive native tribes who are known to be cannibals. Well, their trip, seen through their own eyes (a film company is reviewing the reels for possible release) goes from bad to worse. The natives aren't so welcoming, and we are gradually led into understanding why.

'Cannibal Holocaust' is offensive in so many ways, and is certainly only for jaded gorehounds, and those with a strong stomach. Some would say (and they may not be wrong) that this film is little more than an excuse to parade out excessive amounts of violence and torture (the animal killings are real), plus a great deal of brutal sexual violence. This film blurs the lines between shocking reality and cinematic staging. It's not a 'Faces Of Death'-style documentary, but if you hate death scenes, this one's just not for you, period.

On a positive note, the bit of social commentary is good, as we see the true 'evil' isn't the natives at all, but the rude and disrespectful Americans, who actually, truth be told, deserve what they get. The indigenous tribes are depicted as primitives, but they never kill without reason. They are surviving the only way they know how.

A powerful film, but not an easy film. At all.

trailer (graphic)

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