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How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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(May 08, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This delicious black comedy, set in the jungles of Brazil, tells the story of a French adventurer who tries in vain to be accepted by a tribe of cannibals who has captured him. The tribe treats its prisoner better than you might think. They give him food, his own hut -- even a wife. The Frenchman strives to learn the ways of the tribe, hoping to figure out a way to avoid his prescribed fate of being the main course of a ceremonial tribal dinner. Originally banned in Brazil and rejected for official competition at the Cannes Film Festival due to excessive nudity, the film remains a slyly entertaining masterwork of subversive cinema. A classic example of Brazilian Cinema Novo, HOW TASTY WAS MY LITTLE FRENCHMAN tells a uniquely tongue-in-cheek version of what happened when the Europeans 'discovered' America.

As its title suggests, How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman is a tongue-in-cheek filmic interpretation of a possibly true anthropophagical tale set in the 16th-century Brazilian tropics. Cunhambebe, leader of the Tupinamba tribe, captures an unnamed Frenchman, erroneously convinced that he is a Portuguese enemy. Instead of immediately slaughtering the Frenchman, the tribe adopts him for eight blissful months preceding a planned ceremony to cannibalize him. The Frenchman acquires a beautiful native wife, who becomes one of the most interesting characters in the film as a woman who is both possessed by her husband and who controls his capture. The apparent accuracy of jungle sounds and traditional native lifestyles, along with realistic handheld camera work, lend this film a documentary feel exemplifying Brazilian Cinema Novo, in which historical stories are relived to comment on contemporary politics. Previously difficult to see, director Nelson Pereira dos Santos's tale of cannibalism is renowned for its sympathetic view of natives and critique of colonialism. As proof, the extras include interviews with a Columbia film critic, Richard Peña, and a Krenak tribe member, Ailton, both of whom praise the movie for its respectful take on controversial subject matter. How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman is a fascinating take on taboo with an anthropological bent and a cinematic eye for drama. --Trinie Dalton

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors:  Ana Maria Magalhães Arduíno Colassanti
  • Directors: Nelson Pereira dos Santos
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: French, Portuguese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: New Yorker
  • DVD Release Date: May 8, 2007
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000NHG7CU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,015 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
In "How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman," Brazilian director Nelson Pereira dos Santos recreates the overt conflict between the Europeans and the indigenous populations on the 16th century Brazilian coast. The plot specifically concerns two groups of Europeans, the French and the Portuguese, as well as two tribes of Tupi, the Tupinamba and the Tupinuquin. In their efforts to conquer and control the same coastlands, the two European powers each befriend one of the tribes: the French ally with the Tupinamba, the Portuguese with the Tupinuquin. Though an obvious comparison of civilized and savage, this film daringly portrays the differing societies in all their gruesome and fascinating details, thus challenging the viewer to discover for themselves just which side, European or native, they should support.
The action begins as the main protagonist, an unnamed Frenchman, is driven out of the French settlement for plotting to assassinate its governor. After capturing this rogue European, a tribe of Tupinamba refuse to believe that the Frenchman is indeed French and declare him to be Portuguese. The Frenchman, now an enemy, is destined by native custom to be consumed at a feast. Happily, as custom also dictates, the Frenchman must before his death become a full part of the tribe by living as one with it, bestowing upon the captive a reprieve of 8 months.
The rest of the movie examines the Frenchman's measured transformation from European to native. Among the outward changes are the assumption of the characteristic nakedness, possession of a wife, shaving in the customary manner and learning the language of the Tupinamba.
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Comment 49 of 54 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: VHS Tape
This video is strange, but that is because it accurately (as far as I can tell, anyway) depicts a different culture that is "strange" to me and probably most people. I got caught up in the story and the setting. I loved this video because it is true to life, showing real people and events in a litte-discussed setting in time, instead of the beautiful-star-in-beautiful-place formula which is all Hollywood can ever come up with. I know this video is expensive, and I rented it from my college's library so I didn't have to worry about the price. However, I think if you can find somewhere to rent it from, or wait until the price goes down, you should definitely watch it. I even think it is worth the price because it is a refreshingly good video. It is like a documentary in the sense that it shows a time and place and people so different from the one we are used to. However, it has a moving plot and believable characters (not to mention the much-needed subtitles, which you'll be glad are there since the tribal people speak in their native tribal language and the main character speaks in French, and some other people speak in Portuguese :), so in that way it is definitely a movie. I was so fed up with the cooked-up crap Hollywood always feeds everyone, so it was definitely nice to find such a different movie out there. If you're like me, you will think this movie is strange, but you will be fascinated with it the whole time, and it will really make you think about that time period and place and people.
Comment 11 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: VHS Tape
I saw this movie at a college film festival back in the 70's - I have not seen this video, BUT I have been waiting FOREVER for this movie to come out on vid. It was made in Brazil, so I assumed that was why it hadn't made it to video yet. I have been checking video stores for the past 15 years waiting for this outstanding movie to come out! It is one of my all-time favorites - but be warned, it is weird, like Werner Herzog weird - its weirdness stems from its super-realism.
The movie is based on a true incident back a few centuries ago, in pre-colonial times, when Europeans were first encountering the tribes in the Amazon. A white man is mistaken by a savage tribe of cannibals as their enemy, so they intend to kill him. Before they dispatch him, though, they make him part of their tribe (their custom). The entire movie is like watching a National Geographic documentary as he becomes an accepted member of their tribe. That's it. Cosmic plotline? No. Intense insight into the variety of human life? Definitely.
Oh yeah... be warned... this film has definite nudity - this is not some Hollywood schlock flick about noble savages... this film tells it like it was (re-read above: National Geographic, super-realism)
Comment 12 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: VHS Tape
Set aside the profusion of naked flesh in this movie. It remains a fascinating take on what it would be like to be captured by cannibals. Immediately, I thought of the parallels between this film and the true story of Herman Melville's capture by the vicious cannibal Typees (Chronicled in his awesome first novel "Typee".) But the sense of tension and fear are constant and effective. At every moment you find yourself aware that this Frenchman is going to be eaten. Later in the movie, we even learn that the woman who became his "wife" did so partly because that would ensure her a choice bit of the Frenchman's meat. This is just a fascinating movie that I highly recommend.
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