The films of Liliana Cavani have never appealed to me, and I consider
most of them (not all) to be among the most obnoxious of those modern
cinematic works with a presumed claim to importance.
THE CANNIBALS is a modern reworking of the drama of Antigone, in the
format of a radical political allegory. Set in the city of Milan, where
a fascist government leaves the bodies of captured rebels on the
streets, it is about Antigone, who wants to bury her dead brother. The
character of Tiresias, a zombie-like Pierre Clementi who is about as
expressive as the corpses we see lying around during the whole film,
speaks an extra-galactic language and likes to eat fish (Christ symbol,
GET IT???) Antigone and Tiresias spend much time taking away some of
the bodies, placing them in caves, and giving them bread and fishes.
Why do the bodies strewn everywhere never decompose, by the way? Oh
yes, they are the recurring symbol of the evil of this totalitarian
state. How stupid of me. Haimon (Tomas Milian), who defies his father
the prime minister, wants to become an animal. But we can hardly care
what anybody wants to do in this movie, so preposterous and annoying is
Universally despised by mainstream critics, the movie really deserved
all the trashing it got, notably after its New York Film Festival
showing. It is irksome, pretentious, and quickly wears on the nerves.
The grating music by the usually good Ennio Morricone is not among his
best, and sounds like it belongs in a spaghetti western.
Add another review