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How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman
How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman
Actor: Arduíno Colassanti; Ana Maria Magalhães; Eduardo Imbassahy Filho; Manfredo Colassanti
Director: Nelson Pereira dos Santos
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2007     1hr 20min

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...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actor: Arduíno Colassanti; Ana Maria Magalhães; Eduardo Imbassahy Filho; Manfredo Colassanti
Director: Nelson Pereira dos Santos
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: New Yorker Video
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 05/08/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/1971
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1971
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 20min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 15
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: French, Portuguese
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Movie Reviews

How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman: An Expos of Civilization
R. Martin | Seattle, WA United States | 04/14/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"In "How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman," Brazilian director Nelson Pereira dos Santos recreates the overt conflict between the Europeans and the indigenous populations on the 16th century Brazilian coast. The plot specifically concerns two groups of Europeans, the French and the Portuguese, as well as two tribes of Tupi, the Tupinamba and the Tupinuquin. In their efforts to conquer and control the same coastlands, the two European powers each befriend one of the tribes: the French ally with the Tupinamba, the Portuguese with the Tupinuquin. Though an obvious comparison of civilized and savage, this film daringly portrays the differing societies in all their gruesome and fascinating details, thus challenging the viewer to discover for themselves just which side, European or native, they should support. The action begins as the main protagonist, an unnamed Frenchman, is driven out of the French settlement for plotting to assassinate its governor. After capturing this rogue European, a tribe of Tupinamba refuse to believe that the Frenchman is indeed French and declare him to be Portuguese. The Frenchman, now an enemy, is destined by native custom to be consumed at a feast. Happily, as custom also dictates, the Frenchman must before his death become a full part of the tribe by living as one with it, bestowing upon the captive a reprieve of 8 months. The rest of the movie examines the Frenchman's measured transformation from European to native. Among the outward changes are the assumption of the characteristic nakedness, possession of a wife, shaving in the customary manner and learning the language of the Tupinamba. Yet though the loss of his superficial European characteristics is important, the movie examines as well those characteristics which are left intact through the metamorphosis. For instance, even through all his trials, the captive cannot give up his desire for wealth and gold. In the face of opposition, even when from other Frenchmen, his civilized veneer becomes academic and the captive descends to barbarism. The Tupi are shown as much more simple in their desires--to them it is important to receive beads and combs, but no more important than to receive guns and captives. In comparison to the Europeans, their way seems balanced and affection for objects never overwhelms the traditional ways and beliefs. Though to a certain extent romanticizing the natives' way of life, the director does not flinch from portraying the most gritty parts of both European and native cultures. His eagerness to illustrate unpleasant practices is quite obvious from the title role cannibalism plays in this movie. The concept of humans consuming one another universally repulses and begs the question of what kind of society can make such a barbaric practice a part of daily life. Yet one of the movie's most disturbing intentions is the comparison between two kinds of death: execution or cannibalism. The Frenchman, condemned without a word in his defense, is thrown to the sea in a shockingly perfunctory manner. Yet those captives of the Tupi, condemned to be consumed by the tribe, are treated with respect and even honored as they live among those who will eat them. Above all, they are allowed dignity as they die. Thus even this seemingly simple choice of "civilization" versus "savage" becomes complex, and the choice between a callous, ignoble death and a personable, honorable one difficult. As desired by the director, we are forced to question the ingrained knowledge perpetuated by our culture, and perhaps realize how relative the term civilization truly is. To some extent, all such movies that contrast the excitement of European intercontinental expansion and the resulting wanton destruction of the New World's native peoples are designed to induce viewer sympathy towards the native cause. Yet never before has a director asked us to sympathize with cannibals. In his dedication to an unsentimental portrayal of both cultures, Pereira dos Santos almost manages to convince us of his objectivity. That we resolve despite their abominable practice to support the natives is a considerable testament to the director's skill and evidence of the movie's hidden power."
Strange but good; a refreshing true-to-life movie.
neeterskeeter27 | http://www.neeterskeeter.com/new | 10/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This video is strange, but that is because it accurately (as far as I can tell, anyway) depicts a different culture that is "strange" to me and probably most people. I got caught up in the story and the setting. I loved this video because it is true to life, showing real people and events in a litte-discussed setting in time, instead of the beautiful-star-in-beautiful-place formula which is all Hollywood can ever come up with. I know this video is expensive, and I rented it from my college's library so I didn't have to worry about the price. However, I think if you can find somewhere to rent it from, or wait until the price goes down, you should definitely watch it. I even think it is worth the price because it is a refreshingly good video. It is like a documentary in the sense that it shows a time and place and people so different from the one we are used to. However, it has a moving plot and believable characters (not to mention the much-needed subtitles, which you'll be glad are there since the tribal people speak in their native tribal language and the main character speaks in French, and some other people speak in Portuguese :), so in that way it is definitely a movie. I was so fed up with the cooked-up crap Hollywood always feeds everyone, so it was definitely nice to find such a different movie out there. If you're like me, you will think this movie is strange, but you will be fascinated with it the whole time, and it will really make you think about that time period and place and people."
One of best movies ever made, but then I have weird tastes
neeterskeeter27 | 03/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I saw this movie at a college film festival back in the 70's - I have not seen this video, BUT I have been waiting FOREVER for this movie to come out on vid. It was made in Brazil, so I assumed that was why it hadn't made it to video yet. I have been checking video stores for the past 15 years waiting for this outstanding movie to come out! It is one of my all-time favorites - but be warned, it is weird, like Werner Herzog weird - its weirdness stems from its super-realism.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)"
Entertaining and Watchable
Curmudgeon99 | Manhattan, NY | 08/31/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Set aside the profusion of naked flesh in this movie. It remains a fascinating take on what it would be like to be captured by cannibals. Immediately, I thought of the parallels between this film and the true story of Herman Melville's capture by the vicious cannibal Typees (Chronicled in his awesome first novel "Typee".) But the sense of tension and fear are constant and effective. At every moment you find yourself aware that this Frenchman is going to be eaten. Later in the movie, we even learn that the woman who became his "wife" did so partly because that would ensure her a choice bit of the Frenchman's meat. This is just a fascinating movie that I highly recommend."