Deodato's challenge was to make a fictional 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 chronological order, Deodato slowly brings us with the journey of the Professor Monroe to find the tapes of the documentary. 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. Prof. Monroe will oppose himself with force against the broadcasting of the disturbing images of the final journey of the journalist team. This is a great dilemma between what is presentable and politically correct and what the world should know. It is also a strong critique on the mass media presenting more and more shocking and disturbing images to attract the morbid interest of the viewers.
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 themselves on human misery and sensationalism.
The final image of the film when the camera moves from Professor Monroe to some buildings in the city represents 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". The technology and the suits of the modern man doesn’t get him so distant from the jungle and the brutality of the human nature. Interesting films provoke the viewer to think and elaborate theories and ways to understand the story, the imagery, and the symbolism of a film. In Deodato’s film one can find all those things, besides being gory and gruesome Cannibal Holocaust has many qualities but sadly it is remembered as a minus opus because of the blood, guts, and flesh displayed.
Even with all the thinking that Cannibal Holocaust initiated for me, it was not a film I particularly loved, but its message is 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 but in some way it's like a mandatory film to watch and to aware how the “civilized” society is hypocrite and how the mass medias are willing to do anything to attract wider audiences.