Never before have authentic scenes of cannibalism and the bloody practices of the Papuan jungle in the depths of Guinea, so faithfully and openly been shown.
First of all, the plot on the cover is longer. But it's all in German so I translated only what I thought would be the essence. This is a mondo made in the 70´s following the success of "Mondo Cane" series. The plot and the appearence gives a hint that this would be authentic footage of cannibalism. Well, it's not. There is a scene in the beginning that shows a woman eating. You can't see what she picks up, it's out of frame, but then the camera shows "her" hand picking pieces of flesh from a rotting head full of maggots, obviously fake. Not a big surprise really since real footage of cannibalism would probably never make it to distribution.
So what's left then? It is a typical mondo style documentary. It shows different rituals and with the German narration I did not get exactly everything since the narrator sometimes spoke very fast, and sometimes too much. But what i did get was that a lot of the rituals shown was about becoming adults and to become attractive. There are some piercing images that seem to be very unpleasent. The boys get their noses fiercly pierced by sticks, first small ones and immediatly after big tubes that would make any fan of body modification in the modern world feel like a wuss. Also there is scarification and facial tattoos involved.
There is some death footage thats genuine though. Different rituals about preparing and bury their dead. It may seems bizarre for us in the civilized parts of the world to keep a dead body until it's all swollen and place it in a hanging chair next to the fire, but I guess they do have a reason for that. I'm not sure if there are different tribes, but some of them seem to bury their dead in a classic way, down in the ground. But another scene shows that they place the deceased a bit higher up and just cover them with leafs. That leads me to another scene, where skeleton parts are placed in some sort of baskets. Here the narrator states that it is remains from victims to cannibals. The skulls and bones looks genuine, and they're just stuffed down in the baskets. Maybe they are ancient remains or maybe it's well made props, but a little "what if..." thought passed through my mind.
Mondo is usually a very controversial subject. Some say it's horrible and has no point but to disgust, some say this is the reality and a history lesson. I belong to the latter. But there is always room for incredulous thinking when watching this. Some of the scenes are clearly staged, sometimes in a really bad way. For example there is a war between the tribes, and it looks really silly when some of the warriors are getting killed. But I guess if you call it a reconstruction it gets away with it. There is some animal cruelty in the movie too, something I'm not fond of at all. Killing for eating, sure. But make it fast, don't let the animals be tormented to death.
Finally there is sexuality. According to the narrator the natives of Guinea are homosexuals. A lot of them are anyway. We are told that they have a large need for sex and that they don't really care if it's a man or a woman. Sound like bisexuals to me but the narrator keeps telling us they are gay. And there are some scenes of guys giving each other hand jobs and blow jobs, but it's never close-up images (thank you). There is a scene between a man and a woman having sex that is a bit funny. Both of them look like they think of what to eat, doesn't look anything like passion. And they are constantly under the attack of flies so they use palm leafs to keep them away. But I think the filmmakers enjoyed these semi-naked people, because there is a lot of footage of the woman's breasts, before they place the camera where it's supposed to be.
It's not a fantastic Mondo, but if you are a fan of the genre you should see this. It has some disturbing scenes but overall a pretty friendly viewing. Even Queen Elisabeth shows up! Now the ratings shows 0/5 on the story, that doesn't mean it's not interesting, 'cause it is at least in some parts.