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Cannibal Holocaust: One Of The Greatest Cinematography Accomplishments

2684 words - 11 pages

Ruggero Deodato’s 1980 Cannibal Holocaust is arguably the most controversial film to date. The film’s plot consists of two distinct stories that are continually presented differently than their actual timeline; however, directly influence each other. The movie follows the demise of four ruthless documentary filmmakers: Alan Yates, Faye Daniels, Jack Anders and Mark Tomaso, as they adventure into the Amazon Rainforest in order to capture footage of primitive cannibal tribes. As the audience finds out in the beginning of the film, the documentarians have yet to return, prompting the second and present timeline of the movie, the story of New York University anthropologist, Dr. Harold Monroe. Dr. Monroe leads a rescue party into the Amazon Rainforest to find the dead remains of the crew and their 16mm documentary footage, which he is able to recover. Back in New York, Pan American Broadcast Company intends to air the retrieved footage, asking Dr. Monroe to be the host. Before agreeing, he requests to view the film, prompting the continual timeline exchanges and the theme of the entire movie. Dr. Monroe soon discovers that the four documentarians are merciless in creating films and the audience then takes Dr. Monroe’s point-of-view as he views the disturbing and horrific actions leading to the brutal slaughter of the four filmmakers. Deodato’s message is experienced visually through the clever use of cinematography and mise-en-scène, rather than sound or dialogue. Using genre defying cinematography, he is able to present the audience with a genuinely different sense of suspense while using mise-en-scène to depict the heinous potential of evil that humans possess. Focusing solely on the 16mm camera sequences in Cannibal Holocaust, there is a truly specific cinematography style used in unison with mise-en-scène, which directly emulates the personal experiences the documentarians went through and thus, cleverly presents the audience to a particular sense of involvement in the film.
Both Cannibal Holocaust’s set and setting are in the Amazon to depict a sense of realism; however, the set was not actually inhabited by cannibalistic tribes. The film has a continuous theme in which it attempts to present itself as a real experience, for example, the entire 16mm footage uses natural lighting. The four cinema verité filmmakers have specific responsibilities during their journeys. Alan’s role as the director is to narrate the situation for the camera. Naturally, having that job, Alan has the most amount of time pictured in the film of the four. Faye’s role was the least conducive to the group; she in charge of scripting and both her and Alan were romantically involved. Jack and Mark, the final two members were the cameramen, using 16mm cameras, they usually filmed together simultaneously, in different perspectives allowing the sequence to be viewed from different distances, angles and depth of fields. Alan, being in charge of the operation,...

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