Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I CANNIBALI (The Year of the Cannibals) - RaroVideo Blu-ray - Call Me a Cannibal!

When one wants to have an in depth discussion of post apocalyptic films it's probably easy to glance over I Cannibali aka The Year of the Cannibals. Prior to writing this review I was unfamiliar with Liliana Cavani's retelling/adaptation of the classic Greek tale of Antigone and had trouble even remembering the original tale. Clearly the movie was as relevant in the late 60's just as it was when it first was played to an audience hundreds of years earlier and continues to feel important. The tale of a fascist government preventing its citizens from engaging in the most basic of human rites of passage (the burial of the dead) is riveting and unique. It has been modernized to create a social consciousness to a protest movement that happened forty years ago, but the underpinning and even the basic aesthetic isn't so far off what we see every day with retro-culture and style turning the clock back.

Synopsis from RaroVideo:

On the streets of a damp metropolis lie the corpses of hundreds and hundreds of boys and girls. No one can give them a resting place because of a law enacted by a repressive State. But the young Antigone, with the help of a foreigner, Tiresias, violates this rule in the name of pietas, undermining the established order.


RaroVideo's packaging is exquisite with one flaw; opening the damn thing was a trial by nearly bloody finger. For some reason the plastic wrap the surrounds the disc made for an extra tight fight in the cardboard slip sleeve. Even after removal, the blu-ray case fits almost too snugly in the packaging. I've even confirmed this with my fellow reviewers. One explanation? It's a virgin! Another explanation? Safety first, Shawn. The red slip sleeve is stunning and ominous with it's black and white image on red background. The interior cover art is much more vibrant, reminiscent of the hippie movements from which this film hails. Both covers are loving and challenging.

Note: 1920 x 1080px, 2.35:1, in Italian with English subtitles. Audio: PCM Linear

The picture is vibrant and contrasty. It feels like a work of modern art jumping off the screen with tri-color displays of red, black and white feeling powerful like blood and structure setting the stage for a film that demands the rebel in all of us jump out of the screen. Ennio Morricone's delightfully playful score sounds good. The constant reprise and refrain of "Call Me a Cannibal" is true garage grit and almost out of place for the man who sets down strange, distant soundscapes that lure us to dream and nightmare rather than to bop. A garage band that feels remotely ambitious should consider covering this obscure classic theme.

The disc contains an interview with director Liliana Cavani who will shed light on her reasons for making the picture and provide context as to what was happening during the period of its creation. It's a heady movie thought not necessarily surreal or trippy. It isn't a casual persons P.A. film. No zombies. But you'll always have martial law. Detailed analysis for the film's creation can be found in the booklet liner notes that accompany the release, a very nice feature of most RaroVideo productions lending them the feeling of collect-ability and completeness. The disc also contains the original theatrical trailer.

Cavani is the creator of a controversial and beautiful body of work. Previous to enjoying I Cannibali I had become enamored and somewhat startled by The Night Porter for a time. While that was largely based on the Nazi aesthetic and strange power roles portrayed by the antagonist, I Cannibali is man versus infernal power machine rather than the struggle of man versus man (or woman). Either way, Cavani's work feels like a tooth pull for any sore subject with a root in need of canal.

You can order I Cannibali NOW!

Fan of Night Porter or Cavani's other work should apply. This is not a horror picture but rather a portrait of the world after. A scary place. A world in an off color Orwellian land that has been, is and was.

-Doc Terror

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