Shocking Cannibals (1984)

Genres - Culture & Society  |   Sub-Genres - Shockumentary  |   Run Time - 98 min.  |   Countries - Italy  |  
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Originally released in 1974, this Italian shockumentary portrays a limited, and somewhat sensationalist view of Native American and African tribal customs. From a certain perspective, this film says as much about its producers and directors (Alfredo Castiglioni and Angelo Castiglioni) as it does about the tribes themselves. According to the film, Amazonian tribesmen grind some pieces of bone from dead tribal members into a fine powder to mix with a drink made with bananas that is imbibed during an annual ritual that releases the souls of the departed from any earthly bonds. Admittedly crude survival techniques of some African tribesmen are filmed, as well as spiritual or unusual medical practices, such as the famed Filipino healers who take out tumors or growths from the body by simply putting their hands through the surface of the skin and pulling bloody masses out -- with no rips or tears on the skin surface afterwards. The controversial nature of several sequences might have been alleviated if the directors had balanced the sequences with an informative social and political history of the tribes concerned and more extensive background material on their cultures and beliefs.