Caniba | Denver Film Society | Lucien Castaing-Taylor | Verena Paravel | France


Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel

Biographical, Medical/Health, Psychological

JapaneseEnglish SubtitlesFrance201791 min


No upcoming showtimes scheduled.


Issei Sagawa was a student in France when he murdered and cannibalized a classmate in 1981; he was returned to his native Japan, where he has been living as a free man since 1986. Due to his notoriety, he’s managed to eke out a living as an author, pornographic actor, and film subject, though this relentlessly up-close and personal documentary (the camera rarely frames Sagawa's entire face, instead filling the screen with often-blurred images of blinking eyes or a jaw) is less about his crimes than about the nuanced relationship between the now-frail Sagawa and his brother and caretaker, Jun.

Maintaining his revulsion at Issei’s actions, Jun nonetheless consoles his brother by doling out chocolates and tucking stuffed animals into his arms; attempts to one-up him by playing videos of his own sadomasochistic sex acts; and offers belated dating advice—all the while expressing his resentment at his caretaking duties by wishing for his own death before Issei’s. Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel of Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab paint this dark family portrait in unflinching anthropological detail.

SUBTITLED (Foreign language with on-screen subtitles)

Producer: Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel | Editor: Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel | Cinematographer: Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel
Cast: Issei Sagawa
Additional Countries: Japan