Como Era Gostoso o Meu Francês (How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman) Reviews
"In this country no Governor, no Bishop or other authority could please God, Our Lord for the evil is much impregnated in the customs."-Father Nobrega
A Frenchman is captured by the Portuguese is then captured by an indigenous tribe, the Tupinambas, after they massacre a group of Portuguese. The tribe's shaman predicted they would find a strong Portuguese man to cannibalize as revenge for the chief's brother being killed by a Portugeuse musket ball. Thinking the Frenchman is Portuguese, they believe they now have one. Nevertheless, the Frenchman is granted unrestrained course of the village, is sooner or later given a wife, and assumes their accustomed appearance rather than his Western clothes, or any clothes. Another Frenchman comes to the village and tells the tribe that their prisoner is indeed Portuguese, then assures the incensed Frenchman that he will tell them the truth when the Frenchman finds a secret treasure trove that another European has hidden nearby.
I found the opening scene funny, because its narration apposed with its contradictions on- screen serve as great satire, even if the movie didn't seem to want to maintain that tone very much more often. It's actually not a terribly riveting film. The bountiful, essential locale, fierce way of life and ripened native women make not only the Frenchman, but us, too, forget any threat, and we have the feeling of him as a free man. It should not be that terribly hard to escape. The cannibalism is as scarce of desire as the full-frontal nudity of the cast, suggested in lieu as the representative core of Pereira dos Santos's dry political cartoon of New World mythology and undeveloped social coherence. At any rate, this 1500s-era social commentary, shot on location at a bay with 365 islands, played almost entirely nude and almost entirely written in Tupi, encourages effective breakdown of established ways which are topical because they've repeated themselves for centuries.
A fairly rare treat.
At this point, I wonder if it's a mistake to concentrate, as the 'extra' from a Columbia prof does, on the allegorical political content of the film (it's, as he argued, a clever critique of Brazil's dictatorship). Instead, I think we ought to wonder about why it is that *we* want to see this: depending on who this 'we' is, the desire to see a Frenchman get eaten is worth thinking about. Would be excellent to use in a class with some William Arens (although the suggestion below to pair to with Aguirre is also an excellent one).