By Owen Gleiberman
Updated March 17, 2020 at 02:57 AM EDT
Advertisement

Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale

A-
type
  • Movie
genre

In 1956, Tobias Schneebaum took a bite of human flesh, and though that is but a small morsel of his story, he has been living that moment down — and also dining out on it — ever since. In the one-of-a-kind documentary Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale, filmmakers David and Laurie Gwen Shapiro track down the septuagenarian Schneebaum, a wizened, sad-eyed sprite of a man — think Yoda as rabbi — who recalls his experiences among the Indians of South America with a weirdly voluble, I-went-native-so-sue-me open-mindedness that renders his story as compelling as it is bizarre.

Schneebaum was a 34-year-old Jewish New Yorker who’d enjoyed some renown as a painter when he was seized, in the ’50s, by a desire to cut himself off from Western civilization. He wandered into the Peruvian jungle and got himself adopted, as a kind of honorary soul brother, by a naked tribe of Amarakaire Indians, with whom he ate, slept, and bonded (the pathologically mild Schneebaum had, until then, barely come to grips with his homosexuality). Goaded by the filmmakers, he returns to Peru and meets some of his old compatriots, a reunion with the past that makes Tobias Schneebaum seem one of the luckiest, or maybe the loneliest, people who ever lived.

Episode Recaps

Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale

type
  • Movie
genre
mpaa
  • R
runtime
  • 90 minutes
director
  • David Shapiro
  • Laurie Shapiro

Comments