15 user 29 critic

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

A retired gay anthropologist revisits the native cultures he studied in his youth.

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5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Tobias Schneebaum Tobias Schneebaum ... Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Norman Mailer ... Himself
Michael Nelson Rockefeller Michael Nelson Rockefeller ... Himself (archive footage)


In 1955, while a Fulbright scholar, a Manhattan painter named Tobias Schneebaum spent seven months in the Amazon basin with the Harakambut. When he returned to the US, he could no longer paint. What happened? Nearly 45 years later, filmmakers want Tobias, now 78 and suffering from Parkinson's, to return to Peru. He refuses but allows that he will revisit the Asmat in New Guinea where he spent an idyllic time years before. That trip goes well, including a serendipitous meeting with Aipit, an aging native and once Tobias' friend and lover. Tobias then agrees to go to Peru to look for the people whom he joined on a murderous raiding party. The scars of war remain as does fear. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for depiction of mature thematic material

Parents Guide:

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English | Spanish

Release Date:

15 April 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Once I Was a Cannibal See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,623, 1 April 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$348,507, 26 August 2001
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


Features Charlie Rose (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

A well balanced film and interesting subject matter
20 March 2003 | by Unfunky_UFOSee all my reviews

It's rare that you see a documentary as well balanced as this movie. The blend of Tobias's daily life with his adventures in Peru really show both sides of the man. In truth he is a very simple person, but for whatever reason his life sends him visiting ancient cultures in South America. He is a man of many contradictions.

While the movie is about Tobias overally, it provides interesting commentary on a number of subjects: loss of culture, aging, homosexuality, even a little commentary on the voyeuristic act of the documentary itself. It's this richness of information that makes the movie so compelling.

Unfortunately the filming style is high-handed and sometimes is disruptive. It breaks the old adage that the best camerawork is the kind that is not noticed. Throughout the movie there are annoying closeups and jerky camera movement that is more distracting than useful.

Overall, I highly recommend this movie. I'd give it a 9 out of 10. The film style is annoying but the story is first rate. You won't be disappointed.

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