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Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

We're Getting Mutants in the MCU - The Loop

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Cannibal Holocaust is a 1980 Italian cannibal horror film directed by Ruggero Deodato and written by Gianfranco Clerici. It stars Robert Kerman as Harold Monroe, an anthropologist from New York University who leads a rescue team into the Amazon rainforest to locate a crew of filmmakers. Played by Carl Gabriel Yorke, Francesca Ciardi, Perry Pirkanen, and Luca Barbareschi, the crew had gone missing while filming a documentary on local cannibal tribes. When the rescue team is only able to recover the crew's lost cans of film, an American television station wishes to broadcast the footage as a sensationalized television special. Upon viewing the reels, Monroe is appalled by the team's actions and objects to the station's intent to air the documentary.

Produced as part of the contemporary cannibal trend of Italian exploitation cinema, Cannibal Holocaust was inspired by Italian media coverage of Red Brigades terrorism. The coverage included news reports that Deodato believed to be staged, an idea which became an integral aspect of the film's story. Additional story elements were influenced by the documentaries of Mondo director Gualtiero Jacopetti, including the presentation of the documentary crew's lost footage, which constitutes approximately half of the film. The treatment of this footage, which is noted for its visual realism, innovated the found footage style of filmmaking that was later popularized in American cinema by The Blair Witch Project. Cannibal Holocaust was filmed primarily on location in the Amazon rainforest of Colombia with a cast of indigenous tribes interacting with mostly inexperienced American and Italian actors recruited in New York City.

Cannibal Holocaust achieved notoriety as its graphic violence aroused a great deal of controversy. After its premiere in Italy, it was ordered to be seized by a local magistrate, and Deodato was arrested on obscenity charges. He was later charged with multiple counts of murder due to rumors that claimed several actors were killed on camera. Although Deodato was cleared of these charges, the film was banned in Italy, Australia, and several other countries due to its graphic content, including sexual assault and genuine violence toward animals. Although some nations have since revoked the ban, it is still upheld in several countries. Critical reception of the film is mixed, although it has received a cult following. The film's plot and violence have been noted as subtextual commentary on ethics in journalism, exploitation of developing countries, and as a comparison of modern and uncivilized societies, yet these interpretations have also been met with criticism, with any perceived subtext deemed hypocritical or insincere due to the film's presentation.

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