Caniba – Centro Luigi Pecci
France, USA, 2017, 96'
A disquieting, upsetting portrayal of Issei Sagawa, who killed a classmate and ate a part of her body in Paris in 1981. He was declared mentally incompetent and jailed for two years in a French clinic, after which he was deported to Japan where he wrote a book and made a manga comic on his crime.
In an attempt to explore his motives, Castaing-Taylor and Paravel visit the murderer. They find a man partially paralysed after a stroke, living under the guardianship of his brother. The relationship between the two becomes the powerful, alienating core of the film which, by way of its extreme close-ups, does not shy away from dealing with an existential theme with unfathomable answers. The unreconciled contrast between the cannibalistic horror of the crime and Sagawa’s current helpless condition, as well as that between the brothers’ love for embalmed animals and their extreme sexual desires, puts the audience in an existential discomfort zone and pushes them to perform a reflection on the shocking meaning of cannibalistic desire and to acknowledge the most disconcerting aspects of human existence.