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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.14%
Worth A Look50%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 42.86%
Total Crap: 0%

2 reviews, 2 user ratings

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Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Manipulative, and only half interesting."
2 stars

“Keep the River on Your Right,” then additionally and inappropriately subtitled “A Modern Cannibal Tale,” is a documentary on Tobias Schneebaum, a homosexual Jewish painter.

Now 80, the movie focuses mostly on his life now, and how it was affected by a year-long stay in Peru. “Keep the River…” has its interesting moments and subject matter, but the movie is manipulative and misleading. It tends to sensationalize and exploit his cannibal experience, and market it for that, but the movie itself never really examines it. The closest it gets is when various people who are meeting or interviewing Schneebaum (on archival footage) ask if he participated in cannibalism, and “what specific body-part” did he eat. (His answer: along the lines of “I have no clue.”) If anything, after the majority of the “interest” of the subject has atrophied, and the exploitational style (filming a ritual circumcision of 3-ish to 6-year-olds) of documentors Laurie Gwen and David Shapiro –a brother and sister team—has gone away, there is very little that we are left with. It ends up painting a portrait of a sadly pathetic old man, who is forced once again to visit all of his past and then be taken away from it. Shot in what appears to be digital video, the image tends to be uncomposed in interviewing situations, as well as flat and pallid everywhere else.

Final Verdict: C-.

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originally posted: 05/12/01 09:30:30
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User Comments

2/13/07 Bert Kaplan fascinating glipses of worlds most of us will never touch 4 stars
5/16/01 Peter Schwartz Almost Perfect documentary - well crafted and suspenseful - incredible photography 5 stars
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