I Cannibali (1970)

aka The Year of the Cannibal
Article 2847 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-22-2009
Posting Date: 5-30-2009
Directed by Liliana Cavani
Featuring Pierre Clementi, Britt Ekland, Tomas Milian
Country: Italy

During World War III, the tyrannical government in Milan passes a law making it a crime to bury the bodies of dead insurgents lying in the streets. A woman defies the law with the help of a Christ-like figure she meets.

Hey, it’s an Italian movie with the word “cannibal” in the title; it must be an Italian cannibal movie, right? I pity anyone who goes into this one with that hope; they will emerge frustrated and disappointed. “Cannibal” must be a metaphorical term; this is an art movie, a political allegory modeled off of the story of Antigone. At least you won’t feel critically pressured to like it; the movie was not a critical success, and its current rating of 4.5 on IMDB indicates that it’s not well loved; to some extent, I think the implausibility of the central concept (i.e. that any government would leave the streets littered with thousands of corpses and not worrying about the fact that this is a sanitary disaster in the making) is the problem here. I myself have to reserve judgment, since I’ve only seen the movie in Italian without subtitles, and even the plot description above is highly suspect, as I culled it from several sources and am not entirely sure it’s an accurate reflection of what happens in the movie. At this point, all I can say is I found some of the scenes obvious, and others bizarre. A working knowledge of the Antigone story is helpful.

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