Ruggiero Deodato and his “Last Cannibal World” in Venice80

The last world of cannibals Ruggiero Deodato in the Venezia Classici section of Venice80 is the loss of a civilized man in the wild jungle

In December 2022, director Ruggiero Deodato passed away. With him went another important and precious piece of our genre cinema. In particular, the most cynical and intuitive. Deodato spoke about the most cruel part of the human being with his work.

The last world of cannibals Ruggiero Deodato, poster

It’s actually one of the most censored and controversial movies ever: Cannibal Holocaust (1980). In it, the fake opening of documentaries lambastes a civilized and consumerist society. He is greedy for sensational and violent images. In previous years, this led to the growth of the so-called world films that is to say, fake documentaries that startlingly describe the rites and customs of the whole world.

2022 survivors (Soylent Green), man-eating humanity

From this a further trend arose.that is what cannibal movie in which sensationalism and racism carried out world films was taken to the pillory. Through the dampness, which was not perceived by the viewer either with horror or with some kind of paternalism. Rather document that among peoples stuck in the Stone Age, the cruelty of their lives is also the cruelty of their environment. They often come into contact with Western men and women who look with horror at certain practices they witness. This contrast allows us, outside viewers, to ask ourselves the question: who are the real savages, those whom we consider to be such, or are we, “civilians” devouring everything around us? Deodat with Cannibal Holocaust rely on this second hypothesis.

Directed by Ruggiero Deodato
Portrait of Ruggiero Deodato.

But this is only the culmination of a path the genre has already started from. Youthe last world of cannibalsand again Deodato (1977). A genre in which there will be several more works before the early 2000s (mcannibal world, 2004, Bruno Mattei). A genre that reaches its final form with Deodato. For this he received the nickname “Mister Cannibal. Like an overseas fan of the director Eli Roth who pays tribute to him in his green hell (2013).

“Free Director”. This is how Ruggero Deodato was defined by another big fan of Italian genre cinema, Nicolas Winding Refn. On 80 Venice International Film FestivalIn chapter Venetian classicauthor Drive (2011) presented, restored in 4k by Minerva Pictures in collaboration with Midnight Factory, The last world of cannibals. This is the first part “Cannibal Trilogy” Deodata that ended Hell to live (1985).Ruggiero Deodato and his generation enjoyed creative freedom that we filmmakers today can only dream of. And thanks to this freedom, they were able to use expressive methods that remain modern today. said the Danish director.

Rise: A story of Native American resistance for people and the environment

Among the films of the trilogy The last world of cannibals is the most compact in the message. It opens with a shot from jungle. A huge green carpet on which the tops of the trees create a seemingly calm and uniform surface. The only contrast is a white spot consisting of a small plane above them.. On it, in addition to the pilot and his assistant, are Robert and Rolf. The first is an engineer working for an oil company, the second is an anthropologist. We are in the Philippines, more precisely in the jungles of Mindanao, a two-hour flight from the capital Manila. The distance seems to be negligible, but in the jungle it really does matter. Robert will learn this the hard way.

Cannibal World Venice80
Scene from The Last Cannibal World

The plane lands in a small clearing where the base camp is located, where other members of the expedition are waiting for them. Taking advantage of the plane’s preparation time, they decide to join them. They find the camp dilapidated and abandoned. Soon the two Westerners will be alone in the forest. While trying to float down the river on a raft, they run into rapids where Rolf disappears into the water.

The last world of cannibals main characters
Two main characters The last world of cannibals : Robert (Massimo Foschi, right) and Rolf (Ivan Rassimov) get lost in the forest.

Robert is alone and the real journey begins for him. “noble savage” atypical. A starving man bites a mushroom that turns out to be toxic. When he wakes up, he is surrounded by natives. This is the nightmare of modern man: the loss of his dominant status, complete immersion in the natural environment, which he cannot control. Through his eyes we see this new world, modern to ours, but completely incomprehensible to him. Even the unusual connection that arose between Robert and the young native Palen does not help. Like the new Adam and Eve, they will wander naked through the forest, ruthless, but at the same time untouched and pure. In an earthly paradise where the only law is the law of the food chain. A law that operates both in the jungle and in our supposed civilization.


The last world of cannibals – The cruel criticism of civilized man in Venice80last edit: 2023-09-04T12:55:54+02:00 from Emmanuel Trotto

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