interview with a cannibal
This gripping documentary profiles German cannibal Armin Meiwes, who made headlines around the world when he was convicted of killing and eating another man. The film includes an exclusive interview with Meiwes in prison, alongside home video footage and a look at the police evidence used to convict the cannibal. The film also visits the chilling house of horror where Meiwes butchered, cooked and consumed his willing victim over the course of several months.
It was one of the most horrific crimes of the past 25 years and generated thousands of column inches across the globe. In March 2001, Armin Meiwes met Berlin engineer Bernd Brandes, with whom he had previously made contact via an internet chat site. He then took him home and killed him, with his victim’s consent. Over the following months, Meiwes dined on Brandes’s flesh, reportedly consuming up to 20kg in total.
Although cannibalism is a well-documented crime, the fact that Brandes consented to his own slaughter is unprecedented in judicial history. Meiwes was originally convicted of manslaughter, due to the consensual nature of the crime, but after prosecutors appealed his sentence Meiwes was re-tried and found guilty of murder in May 2006. He is now serving a life sentence.
With unprecedented and exclusive access to Armin Meiwes in prison, the life history, background and motives of the perpetrator are illuminated for the first time. This is also the first time that a film crew has been allowed access to the crime scene itself. Meiwes’s lawyer, Harald Ermel, takes the crew on a tour of the house and describes what happened in each of the rooms. In the dining room, says Ermel, Meiwes ate pieces of his victim off the finest china with wine and candlelight. “It was very important for Mr Meiwes to eat it,” he explains.
Ermel then shows the film crew the freezer where his client stored Brandes’s body; the bedrooms belonging to Meiwes and his domineering mother – “Mr Meiwes had to do what his mother wanted” – and the room where Brandes met his end. Ermel also describes the video that Meiwes made of the whole process, apparently to prove that he was not a murderer. “It was the wish of Mr Brandes to die in this way,” explains Ermel.
Prison interviews with Meiwes shed further light on his actions. He recalls meeting Brandes for the first time –he was “nervous and excited” to come face to face with him after all their internet planning and conversation –and reveals that eating his flesh was “a nice moment”. But perhaps the most chilling revelation comes in the form of the killer’s introduction: “My name is Armin Meiwes. I was born in 1961. I’m a computer engineer from Rotenburg, Germany. I killed a man… and ate him. Since then he is always with me.”
Personal photographs and home videos, many of which have never been seen before, give a remarkable insight into the man who would become known as ‘the Rotenburg Cannibal’. “I do the interviews,” explains Meiwes, “because I want to prevent other people from doing the same.”