|The Naked City
|Dec 8 2008
If you aren’t a serious gorehound, don’t even go near it. Cannibal is a German film based on the true case of Armin Meiwes. In 2001, Meiwes advertised on the Cannibal Café website for a willing torture victim. A man named Bernd Jürgen Brandes answered the ad. Brandes allowed his penis to be severed by Meiwes for the two of them to eat. They first tried it raw, then sautéed in garlic. Brandes bled profusely from the wound but didn’t die until Meiwes delivered the coup de grace—a knife in the throat. Meiwes videotaped every moment of both the torture and killing.
After Brandes was dead, Meiwes dismembered and froze the body, and ate more than 40 pounds of it over the next ten months. His culinary creativity could have qualified him for a guest spot on Iron Chef. He even tried to grind up Brandes’ bones to make flour. When he finally was caught authorities were embarrassed to discover that no law against cannibalism existed in Germany. And since Brandes was a volunteer who had been videotaped willingly trying to eat his own penis, murder charges were a stretch.
Well, legal loopholes or not, the courts imprisoned Meiwes for manslaughter, and later tried and convicted him for murder because he simply needed to be put away permanently—victim’s consent to be eaten notwithstanding. The film Cannibal, under the direction of Marian Dora, deals only with events directly related to the torture and killing. It is unflinching, unapologetic, and absolutely verboten for the faint of heart. It was banned in Germany, but earned a U.S. release on dvd today in 2006.