Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cannibal (2006) - 2 of 3: Internet Death Fetish Trilogy

Once opening this door, it's impossible to shut behind you

This reminded me of a two man version of "In the Realm of the Senses" in regards to focusing primarily on the physicality of a relationship than a layered story or strict narrative. Going with that, "Cannibal" is probably THE most twisted "love" drama out there in the wide world of cinema. While it doesn't succeed in the normal sense, it's a film for most that is going to be incredibly difficult to watch, not because it's overly sad or intentionally going for terror, but because as you're witnessing the bizarre events unfold you realize this was based on a real life encounter between Arwin Meiwes and Bernd Jurgen Brandes of Germany only five years prior to the film being released. The filmmakers included their own poetic license but left the rest up to our two friends to fill in the rest with their piece of strange history committed.

This is paced very slowly, at a purposeful rate and with extremely tight close-ups to the point of where it's hard to focus on what's going at moments. Communication wise, this goes for subtlety and tone rather than a reliance on dialogue. The music gives more mood towards sentiment than ominous overtures to come like in a typical horror movie going for suspense. This definitely has the potential to be shocking but the filmmakers leave that up to the viewer, as everything is shown point-blank, as is, no acceptance or dismissal of it: it was what it was. I found it downright uncomfortable, as it plays on odd and unfamiliar fetishes between two men that includes frequent kissing, fondling, tender touches and insertion. Not to mention it treats the material extremely personal without a hint of cutting away. There's no break here, except if you count dining on some privy body parts, lounging around completely nude with unsightly appendages dangling this way or that, or soaking up the sun while feeding a garden with left over human remains.

This won't make tops of lists of items to watch again, nor is it a film to invite others over to see with you. That is unless you've got time on your hands with some explaining to do, or you're playing a daring game of who can keep their eyes on the screen longest without covering up or looking away. It's hard to call this a "good" film. Though in the basic and unconventional framework that it delivers in it's an effective one. I haven't had to take a break when watching a picture since seeing "Salo"; this is even over no story exploitation pictures like "The Devil's Experiment" and "Aftermath" where I've killed a party and had other people leave the room, never to let me put on another film again. I can't say I agree with anything I seen here but the filmmakers were able to display a certain event without even having to inject little horror-like scares, but by just showing the audience what happened behind those walls that you'll wish never came down. If you didn't take the hint: get out now. This isn't scary, as you'll probably win the lottery and get struck by lightning in the same day before it happens to you. Except for maybe giving hope to those strange folks who's irregular interests stunt dating, the regular viewer won't be put in their shoes and there are no real relating points that are emphasized here, such as with the movie "Grimm Love" about the same subject and the whole sentimental approach and look into their background.

In the end there isn't a big purpose as it leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination, guy soiling himself as he's missing his member and then leaking out the other end as he's dying and all. They squeezed in some tie-ins to "The Brothers Grimm" for some ambiguous meaning that seems a lost cause, though it doesn't appear like there is anything to ponder about here, except maybe why they would do this with each other and have the other one so willing to be a participant, or even how two guys like this lived so close? Is it just a modern thing, is the Internet the accelerator? There aren't going to be any heroes or villains, story arcs, layered surprises, just a non-stop candid look up to, during and briefly after these mens' interaction. Nothing fundamentally more, nothing sincerely less.

Rating: 6/10

Stars: Carsten Frank, Victor Brandl
Links: IMDB, Real story link

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