Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale
New Yorker Tobias Schneebaum isn't like most octogenarians: He's a droll gay aesthete, a former rabbinical student, an accomplished painter, a best-selling author, and an amateur anthropologist. Oh yeah--and while he was attempting to adjust to tribal culture in mid-1950s Peru, his hosts led a raid on a neighboring village and coerced Schneebaum into joining them in acts of cannibalism. Keep the River on Your Right is a captivating documentary directed by brother/sister team David and Laurie Gwen Shapiro, who convince their subject to revisit some of his old jungle haunts. While in New Guinea in the 1970s, Schneebaum kicked back with a tribe in which bisexuality was the norm and took a male lover, whom he encounters again in a touching reunion the Shapiros captured on film. He also returns to Peru, where his tribal friends (who greet him warmly) are now old, wrinkled, clothed, and watching television. Did Schneebaum bring a corruptive Western influence to the societies he encountered? And is the stigma of having broken one of society's intractable taboos too much to live with? Keep the River posits many nagging questions, not the least of which is whether or not Schneebaum's long, strange trip may have left the aged adventurer with too much baggage.