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Vegetarian Cannibal

Canadian Premiere
  • Croatia
  • 2012
  • 84 mins
  • DCP
  • Croatian
  • English (subtitles)
WINNER: Best Actor, Fantastic Fest 2012
WINNER: Best Director, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, PulaFilm Festival 2012
Official Selection, Moscow International Film Festival 2012

“Unbearably tense” – Charlie Hobbs, TWITCH

“Fast-paced and visceral” – SCREEN INTERNATIONAL

“This film exposes the worm at the heart of Croatian society, by exposing the truth behind the country’s corrupt healthcare system” – director Branko Schmidt

Danko Babik (Rene Bitorajac) is a brilliant gynecologist — except for the times that he’s not. He’s lost some patients along the way, but everyone makes mistakes. He falsifies the odd test and accepts bribes from patients, but the system is what it is, right? He’s also not always as careful as he should be, especially if he’s coming down from a coke binge or hitting the operating theatre fresh from an all-night bender. Regardless, Danko has got everything it takes to become a superstar in Croatia’s health-care industry: A shady coroner to cover the odd fatal medical error, a chummy police officer to misdirect any investigations that might come up, outstanding social skills, relentless ambition and a complete lack of empathy for any living being. On the plus side, he’s a vegetarian. Danko begins taking on side work for a local mob boss…

Cancel every pre-conception that a title like VEGETARIAN CANNIBAL may plant in your brain. This is not a goofball farce, nor is it some newfangled exploitation pic. No, VEGETARIAN CANNIBAL is a tough, transgressive, black-beyond-black gaze into the heart of amorality that will rattle you to your core. Propulsively directed with an energy that will have you burning calories by mere proximity, this is scalpel-sharp filmmaking at its most potent, an intelligent, unforgiving rage against the worst kind of institutionalized corruption and sleaze, one that by its very nature is inescapable to its victims. Writer/Director Branko Schmidt has gone on record saying “I’ve told this story because I feel strongly about the tragic situation that our society has found itself in — a situation for which there is no one else to blame but ourselves.” What will shock many is how absolutely familiar the film’s evils are. It’s not a stretch to imagine much of what’s depicted taking place right here within the MUHC, and that’s a terrifying thing to recognize. At its centre, Danko is a fascinating anti-hero for an era of sociopathic greed run rampant, brought to life with a chilling, award-winning performance by Bitorajac. An Eastern European Molotov cocktail of provocation, VEGETARIAN CANNIBAL is a deeply disturbing film, its dark jets of humor notwithstanding. It will stick to your skin like a toxic afterbirth that no shower will cleanse.

Note: There’s a horrific dogfighting sequence in this film. Rest assured that no animals were hurt during its making.

— Mitch Davis