Directed by Véréna Paravel & Lucien Castaing-Taylor
2017, USA/France, 90 min
Japanese with English subtitles

Wednesday, October 31 / 9 pm | Cinematheque


A new documentary from the pioneering filmmakers behind Leviathan, Caniba reflects on the discomfiting significance of cannibalistic desire in human existence through the prism of a Japanese man, and his mysterious relationship with his brother. As a 32-year-old student at the Sorbonne in Paris, Issei Sagawa was arrested in 1981 when spotted emptying two bloody suitcases containing the remains of his classmate, Renée Hartevelt. Two days earlier, Mr. Sagawa had killed Hartevelt and began eating her. Declared legally insane, he returned to Japan. He has been a free man ever since. Ostracized from society, he has made his living off his crime by writing novels, drawing manga, appearing in innumerable documentaries and sexploitation films in which he re-enacts his crime, and has even become a food critic. In an attempt to fathom the motives behind his cannibalism, the filmmakers visit Sagawa at his home.

“Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel achieve their unnerving effect through the most elemental of techniques, all-encompassing close-ups and temps mort (as it were) that make us feel their subject’s presence and absence.” – Nicolas Rapold, Film Comment

Caniba is a study in pampered self-satisfaction, the undying compulsion toward sibling rivalry, and the invidious power of audiovisual suggestion.” – Nick Pinkerton, Art Forum

Plays with Cease & Desist / Directed by Ryan Steel, 2018, Canada, 3 min / Under the shadow of the billboards featuring Winnipeg’s ubiquitous miscreant, a freelance graphic designer encounters a rare type of cricket.