Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel
Biographical, Medical/Health, Psychological
Documentary, Late Night Showcase
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)
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