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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 July, 2004, 09:51 GMT 10:51 UK
Cannibal case to be German movie
By Ray Furlong
BBC correspondent in Berlin

Armin Meiwes
Meiwes was jailed for eight-and-a-half years
One of Germany's most infamous criminal cases ever, in which a man killed and ate another man who had volunteered for his fate, is to be dramatised in film.

The case of the killer, Armin Meiwes, still shocks and fascinates Germans, six months after he was jailed.

Now Rosa von Praunheim, among Germany's most controversial directors, has received 20,000 euros (13,000) of public money to make the film.

The move has sparked outrage from some conservative politicians.

Meiwes, a middle-aged computer technician, killed and ate Bernd Juergen Brandes after posting an advert on the internet asking for a willing victim in 2001.

'Fascinated'

Latvian-born Rosa von Praunheim has made a career with provocative films mixing homosexuality, politics, and social comment.

"I've been interested in cannibalism for 20 years," he told the Bild Zeitung tabloid. "The subject just fascinates me."

His films include 1970 documentary It's Not the Homosexual Who is Perverse, But the Situation in Which He Lives, which was banned by German TV for what at the time was a taboo-breaking portrayal of gay life.

Bernd Juergen Brandes
Bernd Juergen Brandes was killed and eaten by Meiwes in 2001
Then there was his 1999 "cannibal comedy", Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please? - set around Christmas dinner in a Hollywood motel.

Filming on the new movie is not due to start until December, but Conservative politicians in Meiwes' home state of Hesse were quick to condemn the project.

"This is glorifying a perverse criminal," said Axel Wintermeyer, a Christian Democrat representative in the state parliament.

He added that the working title for the movie, Your Heart in My Head, was "hard to beat for tastelessness".

The new movie will not be the official Armin Meiwes story - von Praunheim could not get the rights - but it will be very "similar" to what happened.

It will include a scene showing a vision in which the head of victim Brandes visits Meiwes in his prison cell and tells him to be "proud" of what he has done.

We don't understand why we are being criticised for supporting this film
Michael Schmidt-Osspach, North Rhine-Westphalia film institute
There is particular anger that the film has received the public money from the North Rhine-Westphalia film institute.

The Foundation promises "a mix of grotesque, thriller, and documentary... a gruesome comedy".

"We don't understand why we are being criticised for supporting this film," said Michael Schmidt-Osspach from the foundation.

"Von Praunheim's films are widely respected and highly regarded."




SEE ALSO:
Appeal over cannibal verdict
02 Feb 04  |  Europe
Profile: Cannibal Armin Meiwes
30 Jan 04  |  Europe
Murky world of net cannibalism
30 Jan 04  |  Europe


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