The Myth of the Cannibal, Mimesis and Social Criticism in Como era gostoso o meu francês (1971).

Roberto Ponce Cordero


Como era gostoso o meu francés is a 1971 Brazilian film. Directed by Nelson Pereira dos Santos, it adapts chronicles by old explorers from the 16th century who were imprisoned by native peoples of what is now Brazil. Thus, it deals with topics such as cannibalism, the attraction that the “savage” life had on the “civilized” subject, and the performative character of sacrificial rituals. In this article, we start by looking at the differences between the historical (and proto-historical) sources inspiring this film. We maintain that these differences, and the conscious decision to change certain aspects of the narratives on which the movie is based, show that he did not intend to portray an otherwise fictitious past (cannibalism in the Americas). Rather, these differences turn this film into a political satire directed at 1971 Brazil, as well as into a comment on colonial difference and on the strategies employed by the colonized in order to mock the colonizer by performing his worst fears about the Other.


Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Brazil, Brazilian cinema, cannibalism, colonial difference


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