La Biennale di Venezia

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Verena Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor - Caniba

France / 96’
language Japanese, English
as themselves Issei Sagawa, Jun Sagawa, Satomi Yoko
cinematographers and editors Véréna Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor
sound Nao Nakazawa, Véréna Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Bruno Ehlinger


Caniba is a fresco about flesh and desire. It reflects on the discomfiting significance of cannibalism in human existence through the prism of one Japanese man, Issei Sagawa, and his mysterious relationship with his brother, Jun Sagawa.

Directors’ Statement

Caniba reflects on the discomfiting significance of cannibalistic desire in human existence through the prism of Issei Sagawa. Rather than taking cover behind facile outrage, or creating a masquerade out of humanity’s voyeuristic attraction to the grotesque, as has been the case for portraits of Sagawa to date, we treat cannibalistic desire and acts with the unnerving gravity they deserve. Cannibalism is closer to the human condition than most of us ever suppose, both because it is replete with affinities to sexuality and spirituality and because in our evolutionary history it implicates humanity as a whole.

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Biennale Cinema
Biennale Cinema