Cannibal Holocaust

Cannibal Holocaust ★★★★★

Cannibal Holocaust is quite possibly the best film ever made. Cannibal Holocaust should not exist. It isn't just the historical and material conditions that allowed for and led up to Cannibal Holocaust which should not and should have never existed, it is the actual film Cannibal Holocaust, a film whose very existence is an atrocity, which could not have been made without atrocity, a film which to willingly consume is to expose yourself to atrocity, to make it part of yourself, a self which is now complicit in the production, manufacture, sale and recirculation of a film which is a crime, a crime committed in the midst of a genocide many hundreds of years long, not a single genocide, a series, a welter, a seemingly endless flood of genocides which neither began nor ceased with the production and distribution of Cannibal Holocaust, genocide without which Cannibal Holocaust would never have come to be, could never have been made. A state of permanent ongoing overlapping multiple genocide is the necessary and sufficient condition for Cannibal Holocaust to exist. genocides which are even as i type this now being perpetrated with the entirely aware collaboration of transnational corporations, media entities, national governments, nongovernmental bodies, etc, all of which are the direct inheritors of a continuous colonial project extending back to at least the 15th Century? the existence of Cannibal Holocaust is unjustifiable, unnecessary, something whose cost will always be greater than whatever it can give us, and yet i am glad it exists. if we measure the greatness of art by how true it is, Cannibal Holocaust is the greatest film ever made. Nothing in it is manifestly true. What it has to say when asked directly is a lie or at best a half-truth. Cannibal Holocaust is what it means to exercise the means you have available to make something because you can without regard for consequence, to knowingly and on purpose engage in atrocity simply because it is possible, because no one will stop you, because you feel like you have license to do so, that this is the true nature of things and you are finally just getting to the reality of what is. This is a lie. This is true because it is what happened. It didn't need to happen. None of it needed to happen. It wasn't just passively recorded. Time and energy and money and labor produced everything in Cannibal Holocaust, lovingly assembled it. Rage, sorrow, nausea, dissociation, revulsion. No other movie makes me feel like Cannibal Holocaust does. My body knows that this movie is the truth that it made, that everything that came before it and everything that would come after is no longer contingent but now a necessary part of our world. It is no longer possible to imagine a world without Cannibal Holocaust. The world that we live in, a world that is our home, that we help to construct and participate in every day is the world that made Cannibal Holocaust, that had to make Cannibal Holocaust, and having done so, is better off probably not compulsively watching Cannibal Holocaust when nothing else will work, when everything else feels wrong, when you have to know in your heart just how bad things can be, that people like yourself can be easily convinced to do things they probably never imagined themselves doing but are doing and will keep doing every time you compulsively watch Cannibal Holocaust and feel your nerves fray and blare, feel like throwing up and crying at the same time, and no stain is removed, no poison expelled, rather it is a wound reinscribed, reinforced, barely healed and scratched open again, warmly septic, because something about watching Cannibal Holocaust compulsively feels good. perhaps it is the very weight and solidity of its reality. Cannibal Holocaust will never grow old, will never fade, will never become kitsch or nostalgia. it will always remain in the present, here with us, a living document. the only truth it possesses is the truth of its own making and in this is almost completely satisfying as a work of art. The feeling of anxiety which descends as the title theme plays and does not lift until the last time the title repeats when the temporary departure of the anxiety can be mistaken for relief, for beauty, for peace. That every work of art should have to so visibly bear the cost of its own making, a cost that only be borne, never repaid.

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