Cannibal Holocaust: One of the Greatest Cinematography Accomplishments

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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 Holocau... ... middle of paper ... ...rawork and mise-en-scène, as it makes the audience feel as if they are part of the scene. Although Ruggero Deodato’s 1980 Cannibal Holocaust is an extremely gruesome film that raised controversy, it should still very much be considered one of the greatest accomplishments of cinematography and mise-en-scène in the past 30 years. Deodato broke free from the traditional restraints of cinema to innovate a genuine style of narrative through the use of 16mm cameras and atmosphere. Additionally, utilizing basic, unprofessional cinematography maneuvers, such as panning and tilting 16mm cameras at excessive speeds in conjunction with presenting an authentic experience, makes Cannibal Holocaust a masterpiece. Deodato conjured a powerful and emotional film by effectively presenting a message to the audience through the brilliant use of cinematography and mise-en-scène.

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