Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Quick Film Review - Goodbye Uncle Tom

A friend of mine, in effort to help me understand real racism, loaned me a copy of a film he described as the "real deal" concerning slavery. It would "touch me, move me, and give me a new outlook".

This film was Goodbye Uncle Tom.

The film is now part of the Mondo Cane DVD series, shot by Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi in 1971. It's cinematic treatment of slavery is extremely different from all other slave epics -- Roots, Mandingo, Beloved. Shot in a pusedo documentary style it shows modern film makers traveling through time to see slavery up close and personal. Shot in Haiti, it depicts graphic slavery, including copious male and female nudity, rape, auctions, beatings and any other unpleasant slavery related act it can conjure up.

You ever have a child come up to you and show you a picture they painted, and you get all funny and tell them how good it was. It's gonna be like that.

I watched it cold with no build up, so I went in with minimal expectations.

I'm going to suggest that if you are a homosexual or bi-sexual racist sadist with a scat perversion in the mood for rough dark meat, then this is the film for you! I can't think of anyone else I would suggest sitting down to see it.

After a scene straight from a redneck or a black militants dream of 20 or so slaves running around a plantation dining room, we go to a cargo ship and arrival procedures. From there to traders and disenfranchised workers to mammys and the like, all the while treated to overdubbed historical texts recited by actors without a trace of irony. The film is exploitation at it's worst. A scene described as heartbreaking appeared almost silly to me, a much maligned shot of small white girl leading her "pet black boy" around by his collar as she frolicked in a field. The later stages of black power rallies didn't even appear to have a basis, as did the blood fantasy ending.

Watching I'm not sure what the purpose is. I looked online and the original filmmakers stated that wasn't a message film, they wanted to show what was going on. It's been called the "most racist film in history", and watching the banality of it unfold was almost funny. Maybe I need help. The people who seemed most proud of it, as I researched this farce, were those black militants who wanted it seen calling the films "based on historical facts".

Maybe it's just me, but I think we can do better than this. I think anyone can better than this. They tried for a African Passion Play...and ended up with nasty soft porn. Bad nasty soft porn.

Barkeep. Just mix some shit in a glass...I need to get this taste out my brain.

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