How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman (1971)


Oh, when titles are better than the films lol

This film is of the school of the Cinema Novo. It's an attempted dramatic story with a subtle visual influence inspired by the same spirit guiding the popular, and contemporaneous, low-fi pornochanchadas - even the subject matter reflects this: A History of Exploitation, could easily be a cheeky alternate title.

Instead of exploiting boobs or violence, though, this film also depicts the exploitation of a native people. Europeans of differing nations are shown pulling apart the resources and land of a previously existing culture. 

In this way, How Tasty... can be categorized as a true exploitation film.

Yet, ultimately it was rejected by the Cannes Film Festival due to excessive nudity.

In form :: The use of the original indigenous Tupi language, and of maintaining the languages of the separate nations (making the picture diversely linguistic) // The high number of talent playing the natives // The art design of their culture (especially the body paint) // The field-recorded tribal chants interspersed throughout the movie // And, yes, the surprisingly refreshing aesthetic of the general nudity of the thing.

There is something to say about its use of hand-held color environmental photography, in the context of a historical drama. I can't help but make the comparison of another film that would be shooting nearby within a year; that film, of course, is Werner Herzog's Aguirre: the Wrath of God (1972).

However, Herzog's film contains something dos Santos's does not: enigma.

The rhythm of How Tasty was my Little Frenchman falls very quickly after what appears to be a vivid opening arch. Afterwards there is one note plucked every few minutes, with not much variety or curiosity explored.

The film makes a good single viewing.

It's the staging of a European captured by a native tribe, waiting out his days to be eaten.

Delivering on its eponymous title, this Frenchman, our protagonist, because he is mistaken to be Portuguese, is in fact eaten at the end of the film by the natives... but not without a prophecy ::

My friends will come to avenge me!

No one of yours will remain upon this land.


Heart of Glass (1976)

The Thin Blue Line (1988)