Interview with a Cannibal (Armin Meiwes)

2007, Crime  -  47 min Leave a Comment
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His name is Armin Meiwes, a seemingly mild-mannered computer technician from Germany. To the world at large, however, his infamous crimes have earned him a more devilish moniker: The Cannibal of Rotenburg. Calling upon extensive archived video footage and a rare on-camera interview with Meiwes himself, the provocative documentary Interview with a Cannibal explores one of the most bizarre and sensational crimes in recent recorded history.

The case against Meiwes was complicated by the victim's complete willingness to serve as the subject of his savagery. The cannibal-in-waiting posted an advertisement on a website calling for an adult male who would volunteer for slaughter and consumption. After a short time, an engineer by the name of Bernd Jürgen Armando Brandes agreed. Meiwes captured every step of the gruesome act on videotape in its entirety. He sliced, stored and froze portions of Brandes' body, and commenced to feeding upon him for a period of months.

The filmmakers catch up with Meiwes in prison where he is currently serving a life sentence. They speak of his childhood, which was marked by the devastations of abandonment, a domineering mother, an isolated "outsider" status amongst his peers, a twisted sexual development, and a growing fascination with the notion of killing and eating a boy. These desires were sexualized in nature, and contingent upon the victim's complete agreement to participate.

As the film delves deeper into the narrative of his life, viewers are clued in to a series of revelations which are by turns surprising and horrific. There were several defining moments on his journey that may have led him in a more stable and productive existence as evidenced by his solid military service record and short-lived flirtation with marriage. But with the death of his mother, and the failed promise of other intimate relationships, he turned to the internet and found a thriving underworld of cannibal fetishists. This discovery precipitated the final stage of his psychological freefall, and made it possible for him to realize his darkest fantasies.

Not for the faint of heart, Interview with a Cannibal is a fascinating journey into the psychology of a monster, and a must-see for true crime buffs.

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