6.7/10
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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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Cast

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

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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

15 April 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Once I Was a Cannibal See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,623, 1 April 2001

Gross USA:

$373,366

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$373,366
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Features Trader Horn (1931) See more »

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User Reviews

 
I normally don't review films this poor, but I'll make an exception
5 July 2001 | by Reuben-10See all my reviews

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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