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:
Fascinating film subject, but very incomplete coverage 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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Movie Connections:
Features "Charlie Rose" (1991)See more »


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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
Fascinating film subject, but very incomplete coverage, 24 October 2008
Author: film_ophile from boston mass. usa

I am adding my review here because i did not find my thoughts reflected in the other posted reviews. First of all, I found Tobias, the film's subject, to be an unusual and fascinating character, intellectually curious and articulate, emotionally sensitive and compassionate. In addition to giving us insight into him as a person, the film takes us to two very remote cultures in New Guinea and Peru ; we have a rare opportunity to see and learn about them.The aforementioned were the positive parts ,for me,of having seen the film.

However, the negatives were many. Foremost among them is the lack of a detailed exposition to Tobias' story.The audience is never given the information of when and WHY and how- Tobias ended up having these experiences in Peru and New Guinea.I have not read the book and doubt I will. But I have the feeling, from another reviewer's comments, that that would be the one way to have my questions answered.

In addition to this lack of explanation/exposition, the other main problem with the film is that it really does not give us much of an understanding of Tobias' life/ activities while living amongst these peoples. This film is mostly about watching Tobias as he travels back to these communities and reflects a bit on the people and his life then and now.It's an outline with little detail,all skeleton and little meat. By the way, cannibalism is a teeny weeny topic in this film; it has very little to do with the story.

With all the film's negatives, I can only guess that the filmmakers were underfunded, inexperienced, disorganized, unable to focus and keep to a goal. The story had such potential; what a shame.

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