Planet der Kannibalen (2001)
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Not bad not bad at all. This basically little unknown German Sci-fi thriller was a decent low-budget flick and definitely odd to say the least. With so little to work with, it surprised me with its shades of imagination amongst its story, solid script, dreamy score and profound performances. Maybe too arty for some people's sake and it's definitely one of those films you have to be in the right type of mood to watch. Well, it took me two viewings to watch it fully. Being shot in black and white, helps add a film noir style to it, but also really built on the almost documentary type of camera work. Like a fellow commenter has added, it's basically a homage too many different works of 1950's and 60's Sci-fi or thriller films. Although, what the film reminded me of was that of my favourite flick Brazil (1985). With both of them sharing the biting satire and wit against a government that run a strict system of unfair laws. But it just didn't stop their in this film, it's main criticism was the TV media and it associates. The way they portrayed the interactive quiz shows and the sly people behind them, underneath this gloss its fake and fairly manipulative, by just taking advantage of the viewer. Especially since the film is set in a futuristic time where the economy crashed and unemployment is at a high. But the mystery element involving the aliens is what keeps you watching this well-crafted thriller, because it's unpredictable hokum and it sure doesn't play out like you think it will. But just don't read too much into that side of the story, as it might seem convoluted if so. Plus its rather talky in patches, but at least the dialogue is hardly mundane. Also a decent amount of black humour can be found, well it's hard not to pass and sometimes it worked. But it's Vadim Glowna who steals the show as Oskar the cannibal, but also Minh-Khai Phan-Thi as Emma Trost and Barbara Auer as Heike Hasselhoff are memorably good. Technically its rather sound with great set pieces and bizarre props underlying its moody atmosphere. What we got here, is entertainingly good and at times fairly humorous, in a dark sort of way.
Decent entertainment for undemanding fans who enjoy their paranoia Sci-fi thrillers.
It seems the government wishes to cut the two TV channels down to one, leading to a "ratings" battle. One station has a quiz show "gold or grave": get the big question wrong and..... The other has a Hannibal Lecter type cannibal, safely behind bars, who answers inane questions from the audience: usually by making suitably threatening displays.
Our heroine works as a market analyst for one of the TV stations, but during a meeting the head of the station is mysteriously assassinated. She flees, only to find that she is blamed for the assassination, as shown clearly on the security camera tape which is shown to the world.
In hiding, she meets the leader of a resistance group. She also meets an astrophysicist who is convinced there are aliens on the loose.
All pretty much normal, isn't it? From there, it all rattles along with various unlikely twists and turns - and no, I'm not about to give the details, suffice to say there is finally a successful resolution of the whole exercise.
Not only does the movie not take itself seriously, it parodies both the 1950s B grade sci-fi film and, through that, the values of popular television programming. All in all, curiously enjoyable if not aspiring to be one of the "greats".
What do the aliens want? They say, they want to get off this "miserable little planet" and go home. E.T's they are not. They're too far away from home to phone. However, they do understand how the spectacle keeps humans enthralled and so they decide that they should take charge of human events as long as they're stuck on Earth by taking over the media. By the time 2020 rolls around there are only two media giants left in the marketplace of ideas and the aliens essentially control both and with them, they've got the human race either working along like apolitical automatons or actively engaged as masochistic, passive-aggressive followers who wait with baited breath for the next vicarious event in their lives, the weekly episode of "Cannibal talk", a listener call-in show which caters to those in need of a large, shocking dose authoritarian decision making in their lives. "What do I do about a husband who is cheating?" one listener asks Oskar Wagenknecht (the purported cannibal). Oskar's advice is to invite the woman to come to the forest where he will meet her and kill her because she is worthless, fat and....well, you get the picture. Actually, Oscar uses the German word for a non-human animal to eat, "fressen" as opposed to the human eating, "essen", when he speaks of the harm he will do to his callers, when and if he meets them. And his callers are thrilled! The, by now totally dictatorial government, can tell by the TV ratings. When another caller tells Oscar about having fallen on hard times after losing his job and about his rotten supervisor, our beloved cannibal star advises him to get a gun and to go out and kill people.
"Planet of the Cannibals" is shot in black and white. It's part spoof, part black humour all wrapped in an easy to follow dialogue. The Vietnamese born Minh-Khai Phan-Thi, plays Emma Trost. She's sexy and sly and the star of the film, although, she is sometimes stiff with her lines. Florian Lukas plays the human, all too human Adam Singer, her partner in crimes against the State. Together, they forge an alliance which may or may not lead to a film sequel. I wish it would, for I found these cigarette rebels quite appealing, if a bit absurd. Barbara Auer as Oscar's keeper and love interest, Heike Hasselhoff, plays leather-Queen to the tee. Vadim Glowna as the alien from planet cannibal, Oskar Wagenknecht is superb, especially at stealing hearts from the heartless.
See "Planet of the Cannibals", if you've got an hour and a half to laze about on rainy afternoon. It will stimulate your realization that all States are dictatorships to one degree or another.