I Cannibali (1970)
88 minutes, Italy
Optional: As part of our Summer Film School,
participate in Francesca Brignoli’s 90-minute lecture on the film, at LantarenVenster, before the screening.
I Cannibali is Cavani’s free interpretation of the story Antigone by Sophocles. The film is situated in a dystopian city of the future, but shot in Milan 1969 – a year of excessive street violence, intense strikes and political terrorism – it is a true product of its time.
In a modern city, the streets and squares are covered with the corpses of political opponents of the regime. None of the pedestrians seem to heed. The walls are covered with posters stating that anyone who touches one of the copses will die a similar death. It is the message of a dictatorial state that wants to set a horrific example after a failed coup d’état. Anyone who resists is executed.
Antigone, (Britt Ekland) a young woman from a good family, wants to take away the body of her brother and give him a proper burial. Tiresia (Pierre Clémenti), a mysterious young man who speaks an unintelligible language and who came out of nowhere, helps her.
When I Cannibali first came out, an American distributor offered to bring the film out, provided that Cavani would change the plot into a ‘happy ending’. She refused and the film never came out in the US (nor in the Netherlands). 4 years later she still made her intercontinental debut with her controversial film The Night Porter.