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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.

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