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Films >> How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman (Como Era Gostoso o Meu Francês) (1971) >>

A nice present for my uncle. He hasn't tasted a Frenchman yet.

This film portrays the demographic conflict between the French and Portuguese settlers as they attempt to establish control over a shared geographic area in what is now Brazil during the late sixteenth century. A Frenchman rescued by the Portuguese is captured by the Tupinamba, a cannibalistic culture, who think he is Portuguese and thus their enemy. This film’s tension hangs on the question: “When will they eat him?” Though they let the Frenchman adapt into their culture for months, the Tupinamba eventually do what is expected of them the entire film: they kill and eat the Frenchman in a ceremonious execution. However, the actual cannibalism does not occur until the very last scenes of the film, leaving ample time for the viewers to establish a sympathetic bond with the Frenchman. Most interestingly portrayed is the Frenchman’s relationship to his Tupinamba wife; the viewer is left in a constant state of uncertainty about the wife’s loyalty: will she eat her husband or sacrifice her native culture for love? Within the first minutes watching this film, we are forced to adapt to the wild, primitive behaviors of the Tupinamba, who not only eat human flesh but also parade around the village entirely naked, decorated only in tribal paint. Stylistically, this film is shot with what seems to be an unsophisticated camera eye, giving the viewer the sense he or she is being shown documentary footage of the lives of these people.

Carina Meleca