How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman
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 DaltonSee all Editorial Reviews
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The only thing I didn't like about it was the fact that only the men were completely naked not the women and to my taste it should have been the other way around.
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...at dinner...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.
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)