Skip to main content

KEEP THE RIVER ON YOUR RIGHT: A MODERN CANNIBAL TALE

USA, 2000 (MIFF 2001, Documentaries)

Director: Laurie Gwen Shapiro, David O’Leary

"How do people taste?' A fair enough question when put to Tobias Schneebaum: artist, writer...cannibal. Schneebaum first gained notoriety in 1955. when the US State Department announced the New York artist was missing in the Peruvian jungle. He emerged, after several months, naked, covered in body paint—a changed man. Schneebaum's participation in a tribal raid and cannibalism are recounted in his 1969 memoir, Keep the River On Your Right.

Astonished by Schneebaum's account of his sexual relationships with the men of the Asmat Tribe in West Papua, talk show host Charlie Rose asked the million dollar question; "Why did you participate?' 'Why not?". Revitalising the debate over his unorthodox anthropology, sibling directors David and Laurie Gwen Shapiro coax the reluctant Schneebaum, now 78, back into the jungle. Schneebaum's emotional return to Asmat, where he is reunited with a former lover, illustrates the accelerated proximity of once distant cultures. Winner of the Special Critics Award, Los Angeles Independent Film Festival.

See also...

FAMILY SECRET

Family Secret centres on a letter from Romania that inspires a New York filmmaker to take a trip half way around the world to meet the brother that she never knew she had. Pola Rapaport and her ... More »

TREMBLING BEFORE G-D

A remarkable documentary, winner of the 2001 Best Documentary award at the Berlin Film Festival, dealing with Hasidic and Orthodox Jews who come out as gays and lesbians and must reconcile their ... More »

COLLECTORS

Violence is the life-blood of American culture. Criminals attain mythological status; the crimes are replayed by the media forming a perverse mirror image of the dominant American myth of the ... More »

SUNSHINE HOTEL

Sunshine Hotel, the last stop before destitution. This Bowery flophouse is the setting for Michael Dominies exceptional, heart rending documentary. The film examines the lives of a number of men who ... More »

PROMISES

Boston born, Jerusalem bred director B. Z. Goldberg, a TV journalist and consultant in conflict management, persuades Israeli twins to spend a day with Arab children, initially stand-offish ... More »

HYBRID

High yields, stiff stalks—one man's passion for corn." So runs the tag me of this truly unusual and highly original documentary. Milford Beeghly has made corn his life's work. Now 101 years old ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director