“CANNIBAL”–gruesome love


Gruesome Love

Amos Lassen

Some of you should remember the story of a German gay guy who had a strange fetish—cannibalism. His story has been made into the movie “Cannibal” and it is a gruesome tale. When I put the movie into my DVD player I was not sure what to expect. I am not one who usually likes gore but I have to say this movie was an adventure for me. The movie s well done if this is your choice of film genre but it was not an easy movie to watch.

The story is about Armin Meiwes, a 42 year old German computer expert and Bernd Brandes, a 43 year old engineer. Armin uses his computer to search for someone to help him live out his most deep desire—eating another human being. Eventually after posting ads on the internet he finds Bernd and the two form a bond. Bernd shows how he feels for Armin at their first meeting when he tells him, “I’m your flesh”. What ensues is a love story-a truly gross love story. With very little dialog, this strong movie shows what transpires between the two men, with lots of sex and even more blood.

The film can de divided into three acts—the hunt, the seduction, and the consumption—as it looks deeply at sex as predation and aligning it with the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. I do not think that I can say that this is entertainment but the movie does work. The two men obviously understood each other’s desires and the interaction between them seems to be genuine and what makes such a horrible subject so interesting to watch. In my opinion this is the ultimate cannibal movie. It looks at what makes a person desire to want to eat another person and it does so unflinchingly. It looks at both sides of the picture—what drives a man to want to eat another one as well as what kind of weird desire does one who wants to be eaten have.

There is a lot of blood in the film and the camera lingers on it and the actors give highly believable performances. The movie shows no sympathy for the actions of the men but neither is it judgmental. It is simply a recording of the affair and although the relationship between the men is bizarre to say the least, it is very believable.

It bears repeating that this is not a movie for everyone. If you are weak of stomach then I do not recommend that you see it but if you like this kind of thing, this is an absolutely amazing recreation of what happened when the “Rotenberg Cannibal” made his foray into history as one of the strangest love stories ever “executed”. Albeit fiction in regards to the meeting of the men, it is based on true events.

Since there is little dialog (maybe 15 lines total), the movie depends upon visuals and atmosphere. The scenes that lead up to the eventual gore scenes are long but this helps build tension for what is to come and come it does. Be warned though that there is a great deal of male frontal nudity.

One scene that I shall probably never forget is when Meiwes cut off Bernds’s penis and fried it for both to eat. It is gruesome it idea and to see it is something I thought I would never see on the screen. Some of the scenes of rough homosexual love are also hard to see. In some ways this movie can be regarded as a masterpiece in that it is almost like watching a documentary of something that really happened and the entire story s told with nothing left unsaid. As shocking and appalling as “Cannibal” is, it is also intriguing. If it were not a true story, no one would ever believe it happened. The movie is not an exploitation film but it is a powerful rendering of one of the sickest incidents in the history of mankind. I think the most compelling part of the film is when Bernd confesses that he is the “flesh” and we see that even though he is the victim, this is what he chose to be.

I may be called crazy but I have to admit that this is a brilliant film. While not for everyone, those who see it will be amazed at the honesty in which the story is shown.

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