On Cannibalism

A film by Fatimah Tobing Rony

US/Indonesia | 1994 | 6 minutes | Color | DVD | Order No. 99276


King Kong meets the family photograph in this provocative experimental film exploring the West's insatiable appetite for native bodies in museums, world's fairs, and early cinema. Intertwining personal narrative about race and identity in the U.S. with layered footage, artifacts and video effects, ON CANNIBALISM looks back at anthropological truisms with outrage and irony. "...In these times of heated debates around diversity and multiculturalism, ON CANNIBALISM is bound to arouse interesting discussions concerning race, identity and difference. " - Teshome Gabriel, UCLA


"**** Well done and provocative. An excellent discussion starter. Any school or library wanting a vehicle to motivate thinking about colonialism...should consider purchasing this video."

Video Rating Guide for Libraries


  • New York, San Francisco Asian American - Film Festivals
  • Flaherty Film Seminar


Fatimah Tobing Rony

Fatimah Tobing Rony is a filmmaker, writer, and educator. Her most recent film was the dramatic feature, CHANTS OF LOTUS (2008), which she co-directed with Nia Dinata, Upi, and Lasya Susatyo. She has directed, written, edited, and produced several short films and videos, including ON CANNIBALISM (1994), CONCRETE RIVER (1996), DEMON LOVERr (1998), and EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN (2000). Her work has screened in several film festivals and art museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Both of her last films, DEMON LOVER and EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN won Director's Guild of America Student Film Awards, and both were selected to be screened at the Kodak Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at the Cannes Film Festival.

She received her MFA in Film (Directing/Production) from UCLA and her PhD in the History of Art from Yale University. She is the author of the book, "The Third Eye: Race, Cinema, and Ethnographic Spectacle" (Duke University Press) which won the 1998 Katherine Singer Kovacs Book Award from the Society for Cinema Studies. her articles have appeared in many journals inlcluding "Film Quarterly," "Afterimage," "Artforum," and "Camera Obscura." She has lectured at many institutions including the Guggenheim Museum of Art, the Smithsonian, the Whitney Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Institut de Monde Arabe in Paris, France. Among the many awards and scholarships she has received: a Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship, two Directors Guild of America Student Film Awards, two Kodak Emerging Filmmaker Awards, and a Fulbright Scholarship to Indonesia, a Jim Morrison Directing Award, and a Colin Higgins Directing Award from UCLA. She is currently Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Irvine. (8/12)

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