IMDb > Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale (2000)

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Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale -- In 1955, Tobias Schneebaum studied the natives of the Peruvian Amazon. In 1999, he returned to visit the cannibals he lived with many years before. This amazing documentary follows his emotional reunion with the Asmat people.


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A retired gay anthropologist revisits the native cultures he studied in his youth. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
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5 wins & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
I normally don't review films this poor, but I'll make an exception See more (15 total) »


  (in credits order)
Tobias Schneebaum ... Himself
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Norman Mailer ... Himself
Michael Nelson Rockefeller ... Himself (archive footage)

Directed by
David Shapiro 
Laurie Gwen Shapiro 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
David Shapiro 
Laurie Shapiro 

Produced by
Peter Broderick .... executive producer
David Shapiro .... producer (as David S. Shapiro)
Laurie Shapiro .... producer
Mark Stolaroff .... associate producer
Lorna Thomas .... consulting producer
Chris Vroom .... executive producer
Original Music by
Steven Bernstein 
Cinematography by
Liz Dory 
Jonathan Kovel (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Tom Donahue 
Tula Goenka 
Sound Department
Peter Levin .... sound re-recording mixer
Evan Meszaros .... sound recordist
Camera and Electrical Department
Liz Dory .... director of photography: additional photography (as Elizabeth Dory)
Animation Department
Rob Hammer .... animator
Stephen Moverley .... animator
Editorial Department
Rob Hammer .... apprentice editor
Mary Catherine Palumbos .... apprentice editor
Music Department
Paul O'Leary .... music supervisor
Other crew
Tiffany Bauer .... web site designer
John Zorn .... thanks

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for depiction of mature thematic material
93 min

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Features "Charlie Rose" (1991)See more »


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7 out of 24 people found the following review useful.
I normally don't review films this poor, but I'll make an exception, 5 July 2001
Author: Reuben-10 from Ohio, the heart of it all

Certainly, this movie is a great documentary. The juxtaposition of places and footage makes it interesting, and the soundtrack adds to it, but the movie itself comes off as laughable. First, the film is unreasonably long. For as much as the film attempts to cover, one can't help but wonder when the film will end. It could end in about five places, and none would be any too soon. It's a stretch and is abrupt when it ends in a still-frame.

I'm a polite man, but my friend kept checking his watch throughout the feature. Reminiscent of the Timex Indiglo ads occurring in movie houses, rating films with anti-star 'flashes,' each flash being a check of the watch, this movie would be about a fifteen for my friend. Also, when one puts the film style aside, some annoyance comes from the subject himself. The old man is constantly moaning about his hip possibly breaking again. My friend's response to that was that he would have dropped Schoenbaum in the jungle had he been in the crew. Personally, I found the old man whiny some moments and a beautiful inspiration at others.

Parts of this film reminded me of a Book-of-the-month club commercial, if such organization did commercials. Except it's all for Tobias Schneebaum. In addition, the animated stills from the over-touted picture-book were downright tacky.

All in all, the film was long-winded and schizophrenic. At times the juxtaposition was genius, but at others, and far too often, it was confusing and downright annoying. So if you want to see a film about a 'beautiful, old man' reluctantly stumbling his way through his old haunts, _River_ is for you, but if your local art cinema carries more than one film, I suggest seeing that one.

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