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directed by Benjamin Viré
Belgium 2010

Max (Nicolas Gob, BLACK OCEAN), a former gangster who has developed agoraphobia, lives a reclusive life deep in the forest. One day, he discovers a bloodied and unconscious woman and takes her back to his cabin. The girl, who he has named Bianca (Helena Coppejans), seems to be on the run and in need of a place to hide. The two establish an intimate yet distant relationship. When Max discovers that Bianca is a cannibal, he ends up helping her acquire meals and disposes of the corpses. Their little idyll is short-lived because Bianca belongs to a gang of Turkish gypsies - for whom she performs cage dances and eats men for their entertainment - and Le Gitan (Eric Godon, IN BRUGES) is hot on her trail (well, maybe not hot since about thirty minutes passes in between his hiring and his actual search for Bianca). While Le Gitan would like to bust in and grab the girl, leader Fatih (Fatih Cam) believes that the cannibal girl will deal with Max for them. Le Gitan gets impatient and grabs the girl (he also shoots Fatih's annoying nephew Cunyet [Pierre Nisse] and lays the blame on Max). Max is forced to venture into the city in search of Bianca. He also reconnects with his terminally ill father (Philippe Nahon, THE PACK) - for an incredibly tedious "profound" discussion - a mechanic buddy Jannot (Jonathan Demurger) - to look for Le Gitan's distinctive car - and some of his old criminal contacts (which does not go well). With word that Max is looking for Bianca out on the streets, Fatih captures him and offers him up to a starved Bianca for one of her special performances. Although well-made in all technical respects (even if the muddy look of the first half is more annoying than atmospheric), CANNIBAL plays like a demo reel of a mainstream hopeful at the expense of actually entertaining its audience. First time feature director Benjamin Vire employs a muddy and murky look for the country scenes while the city scenes unfold in black and white (and look much more attractive). His music video-isms in the second half (quick cut driving montages set to rap music) are even more tiresome than the ponderous (rather than pondering) long take approach of the "relationship" scenes between Max and Bianca. The shaky-cam scenes in the second half could be seen to reflect Max's agoraphobic agitation, but they are also present in the country scenes and just seem derivative. The stylistic contrast between the hand-held, natural-lit, Max and Bianca scenes and the cliche "bad ass" slow-motion walking bits of Le Gitan has a "look at how versatile I am as a filmmaker" ring to it. Max also spends a lot of time in the shower; not so much so that Bianca can sneak out on him to find meals and Le Gitan can later grab him while Max is distracted, but so Vire can train the camera on contemplative shots of water running down his face. There is also an undercurrent of Belgian racism towards its Turkish population with the whole gypsies staging cage fights and cannibal banquets that leaves a bad aftertaste. There's a bit of gore (including a cringe-inducing fingers digging underneath the skin shot) but most of the blood is nearly black thanks to the overall muting of the color scheme. Vire should have chosen either to make a crime movie or a horror movie (as well as a black and white or color movie). CANNIBAL ends up being an overlong grab-bag of digitized filming techniques rather than a brutal thriller or morbid romance.

Eric Cotenas

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Theatrical Release: 2 October 2010 (Belgium)

Reviews      

DVD Review: Matchbox Films - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Matchbox Films

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:42:40 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.79 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio French Dolby Digital 5.1; French Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Matchbox Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Trailer (16:9; 1:32)

DVD Release Date: September 26th, 2011
Amaray

Chapters 20

 

Comments

Matchbox Films brings this shot-in-HD production to disc in a single-layer encoding. Detail is nice close-ups, but I'm going to assume that some or most of the artifacting is inherent in the heavily digitally color-modified source. 5.1 and 2.0 stereo mixes are offered and the subtitles are optional. A subtitled trailer is the only extra.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Matchbox Films

Region 2 - PAL

 

 

 

 




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