"American distributors felt that such scenes were too incendiary, and forced Jacopetti and Prosperi to remove more than thirteen minutes of footage explicitly concerned with racial politics for American and other Anglophone audiences." ~ Wikipedia ~
"This film is The Heartbreaking Truth! It possessed all of the passion of a drama and all of the tragedy of a horror film. Yet it gave the truth with no chaser as any great documentary is supposed to do."
If you're not interested in knowing the truth I suggest that you do not watch this film. However, if you are one who searches for the truth... then this film is definitely a must see. I get constant recommendations about movies to review, some I take into account and some I just watch and keep it moving. I was having a lengthy conversation and the movie "Goodbye Uncle Tom" came up. I was interested because I had never heard of the movie. So soon after our conversation I go on a search to find the movie. What I found interesting was that this movie was even allowed to be on Youtube with all of the nudity and offensive language. "Goodbye Uncle Tom" is a 1971 Italian film directed by Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi and features music by Riz Ortolani.
Now I have seen "Roots" and "Amistad" and other movies which claim to give a true look into the history of Slavery but this story is told from a totally different point of view. It is "Uncle Tom" who lets us peer into the actual events that took place. The film takes us back in time to Antebellum America using period documents to illustrate the racist ideology and sick conditions Africans were forced into during slavery. The film is that of a "mockumentary" that uses actors to play the role of historical figures and it illustrates the life of a slave as being a life full of violence, rape and torture committed by Whites against their Black slaves.
Even the camera movements were quite unusual and at some point I thought they only used one camera because some scenes lacked any real interaction between different angles. At some point it looked as though it was one camera person moving around the table during the first scene of the movie. There was also a very long intro that used the landscape establishing shots to reel us into the story. At one point I also thought that maybe they one camera in that scene on purpose in order to show it from "Uncle Tom's" POV. This is why I like foreign films because you get to see something new as far as different ways to do certain tasks as far as production is concerned. Everyone thinks about film in different ways and therefore we express ourselves differently as well.
I am warning you once again that if you cannot stomach the truth you don't need to watch this movie!!! I actually had to turn my head at some points of the movie because I just couldn't believe what I was seeing! Then to realize that everything I was seeing actually happened to my people, that really disturbed me. So with that being said I will only go so far as to not make you take what you cannot handle. I want you to have a choice in the matter. Now I'm just going to highlight a scene I thought was shocking and might provoke some of you to think, some of you to start a conversation, and some of you to do nothing at all. Most of all I hope it makes you think, analyze, and then think again.
Notice how the Africans are outside of the church and in the back of the church. They dwell on scriptures such as Colossians 3:22 "Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;" Ephesians 6:5 "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;" and 1 Peter 2:18-20 "18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. 19 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God." They took these scriptures totally out of context, and that is why the Africans weren't allowed to "read and write" for then they would find freedom in knowledge and soon would find out the truth... that they are not inferior but are human beings in their own right.
Then also pay attention to how the White women talk about the African women with whom their husbands are "accused" of sleeping with. They make some pretty interesting justifications for their husband's actions. Some of their comments really made me think about how in denial they really were. This again from another point of view.... from the view of "Uncle Tom."
So you might be wondering... who is Uncle Tom? Well I found it very interesting when searching for its definition the info that I found. According to the Urban Dictionary [www.urbandictionary.com] Uncle Tom means...
1. Uncle Tom
A black man who will do anything to stay in good standing with "the white man" including betray his own people
2. Uncle Tom
Uncle Tom is a term used by black people to try to convince other black people that working, education, living well, and setting a good example for their children is selling out.
While [www.dictionary.com] states
–noun Disparaging and Offensive.
a black man considered by other blacks to be subservient to or to curry favor with whites.
I think the biggest thing here for me was that I had heard about what happened "true events" but to see it actually played out before my eyes was a lot more intense. The scene that disturbed me the most was where the slaves were shown in the bottom of the ship on their way to America. They talked about them like animals and treated them likewise. They broke the teeth of those who refused to eat and then forced the food down their throats with funnels! To make matters more interesting upon their arrival to America they were washed in lye soap and then the men were castrated. They did not merely receive a quick snip .... NO they pulled off their "parts" with force.
I'm sure some of you already know parts of the story that were shown in Amistad, Roots and other films and history period but I encourage you to have an open mind and take some time out to view this film. As far as children and this movie are concerned I'm not sure whether I would allow my children to see this unless they are able to talk about it afterward. They need a chance to talk about what they saw. This can be a very traumatic experience for a child especially if they find out that it involves them and their history in some way. Yet I'm still compelled to say that it is important for our youth to know their history but I will leave that decision up to the parents.
The film ends with an unidentified man's fantasy re-enactment of William Styron's The Confessions of Nat Turner. This man imagines Nat Turner's revolt in the present, including the brutal murder of the whites around him. American distributors felt that such scenes were too incendiary, and forced Jacopetti and Prosperi to remove more than thirteen minutes of footage explicitly concerned with racial politics for American and other Anglophone audiences. This remains the case on "Youtube" where I initially found the film. Learning this only makes me more interested in viewing the deleted footage. Overall I thought this was a great film. It possessed all of the passion of a drama and all of the tragedy of a horror film. Yet it gave the truth with no chaser as any great documentary is supposed to do.
As always remember to be "REEL" and stay on the MOVE!