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