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How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman

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

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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: #165,608 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By R.M. on April 14, 2001
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 18, 2000
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.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 1, 1999
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)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By rhs1201 on January 7, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Here it is: the film was made in the 1970's from the perspective of Brazilian natives who most definitely do not have a euro centric viewpoint on history. Frenchman is captured by cannibals, cannibals turn out to be be easy going folk who simply live life in a way that makes sense to them. They tell frenchman, respectably well endowed frenchman as everyone in the film is naked - get ready for that trip, They tell the frenchman that he lost the war and is now both a prisoner and dinner, but that they don't think much of him and will not eat him because, right now, he hasn't proven himself worthy of that effort, Right, it is an honor to be eaten. This is where the film is sublime because who am I to say what this group of people do is or is not correct, not to be libertarian to an extreme - but these folks didn't ask europeans to come across an ocean and pass judgement on what was not understood.
So anyway - they give the Frenchman a job, a hammock, and even a real nice looking - eager to please - kind of wife. Frenchman stays for like a year - he brings the natives gunpowder - helps them win a battle against another tribe - cuts his hair in the prevailing cannibal fashions- and sits next to the chief at dinner.
So then one day, the chief decided that the Frenchman has proven himself, that he is now worthy to be eaten. The frenchman's native wife, who knew her job the entire time, must convince the Frenchman to accept his fate and become "one" with the tribe, through the only means possible.
Will the Frenchman accept this fate? Will he run away? Will he fight? What of the girl? Will the chief change his mind? You will be surprised at the end, and certainly will never forget the last image on the screen, but this movie will stay with you forever - and you don't even have to use a toothpick.
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