2011-01-17

Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Cannibal Holocaust (Ruggero Deodato, 1980)

One, if not, the most controversial movie of all-time depicting some of the most disturbing scenes ever film in a fictionnal film, Ruggero Deodato's Cannibal Holocaust will be discussed here. I should mention that it was a challenge for me to enter in this infamous movie, because of the violence and the reputation of the film itself. I am not too enclined about exploitation films and I entirely disagree when a filmmaker uses animals and hurts them voluntarly (turtle scene and the pig scene). They are gratuitous and they don't bring anything interesting to the story or the propos of it.

Deodato's challenge was to make a fictionnal movie about a documentary that feels like the real making-of of a documentary. He succeeds in this aspect; the movie feels like if it was shot by two different teams. One in New York and the other one in Amazonian forest. Instead of presenting the shocking images all in one continuous shot, Deodato makes us wait with the trip to find the tapes of the documentary with the Professor Monroe. The professor Monroe is one of the most important character in the movie, he represents science and also morale. He is the only character the viewer can actually identifies himself with. He has a lot of common sense but he also wants to understand the native tribes he encounters in his trip; a representation of our curiosity and interest in viewing the film. He will oppose himself with force agaisnt the broadcasting of the disturbing images of the final journey of the journalist team.

This team of reporters thirsty for celebrity and money will do anything to get the images they want to show to the public of the civilized world. It represents this buzz of journalists that will kill themselves or others just to get the scoop or the most blood of some news or documentary. Cannibal Holocaust is a metaphor on journalists and on how they feed themself on human misery and sensationalism.

The final image of the film when the camera moves from Professor Monroe to some buildings in the city reprensents one of the many metaphors of the movie: who is more civilized? the cannibals living in the "stone age" or the "civilized" living in stone buildings in "societies"? Well, the answer of the film states that in every "world" there are evil and good. The buildings and technical advances do not mean that we are better humans than the one still living in the jungle or the "stone age".

Even with all the thinking Cannibal Holocaust has provoke for me it was not a film I particularly loved, but its messages are clear and maybe the methods are extreme, it still denounces abuses within it. I also believed that this is not a film for the faint of heart by in some ways it's like a mandatory film to watch...

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