One of the most influential and enduring ethnographic documentaries ever produced, Cannibal Tours explores the phenomenon of the growing tourism industry in Papua New Guinea, and in the process turns the ethnographic lens on Western mass-market culture with disturbingly perceptive insight and candor.
Legendary documentarist Dennis O'Rourke films rich western tourists, journeying into the jungles of Papua New Guinea, eager to experience a safe and sanitized version of the 'heart of darkness'. With a sense of dark comedy, he portarys their voyeurism and materialism, as they garishly display all the characteristics of the loud, boorish western traveler, oblivious to the native culture they are invading. O'Rourke excels at capturing the native islanders as they adapt to this influx of western people and capitalism.
This provocative documentary raises questions about western desires to experience 'authentic' or 'primitive' cultures, and what those desires ultimately say about us and our 'advanced' culture.