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Japanese Avant-garde and Experimental Film Festival: Véréna Paravel / Lucien Castaing-Taylor: (Leviathan) 'Caniba' at Bertha DocHouse, Curzon Bloomsbury

At a glance
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Time 18:30
Date 16/12/17
Price £12.5
  • Price £12.50 (£10 concs)
  • Get ready to explore the discomfiting significance of cannibalistic desire in human history and culture.
  • Bring along a meat snack.
  • Surf to book online.
  • See you at Curzon Bloomsbury

Co-directors and anthropologists Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor explore the life and desires of Issei Sagawa, a Japanese man who killed and partially ate his Sorbonne classmate.

Caniba invites viewers to  spend 90 minutes in the company of the infamous cannibal Issei Sagawa  who, in 1981, murdered and partially ate a fellow student whilst  studying at the Sorbonne in Paris. Due to a ruling of insanity by a French court and legal technicalities in Japan, Sagawa was allowed to return to his native country a free man, where he continues to make a living from his macabre celebrity.

Paravel and Castaing-Taylor’s  documentary is a stylistically experimental and thematically challenging  viewing experience. Shot in unbroken takes and extreme close-ups, the  audience is forced to look into an abject abyss. Revulsion might be  expected from this encounter, but more disturbing is to recognise  Sagawa’s humanity, or to empathise with him. Such was the case when Caniba screened at the Venice Film Festival: some walked out, yet the film walked off with the Special Orizzonti Jury Prize.