By Anthony Kaufman | ReelPolitik August 23, 2006 at 4:02AM
Dear Sundance Channel and Independent Film Channel executives,
I understand theatrical distribution is too cutthroat, competitive and costly to acquire fabulous 60-minute documentaries from around the world, and that is why I am reaching out to you, indie cable TV executives, to rush out and get a copy of "Last Supper," a fascinating, stylized chronicle of the relationship between final meals and capital punishment, in the U.S. and other countries, today and throughout history. Made by two Stockholm-based artists Lars Bergström and Mats Bigert, the film was made for Swedish TV, but recently played at the True/False Film Festival in Missouri and at a special screening last night in New York.
Framed by the story of a Texas death-house chef, who deftly prepares golden onion rings and fried chicken before our eyes as he narrates tales of "Old Sparky" and specific last suppers, the film also ventures to South Africa, Kenya, Thailand, the Philippines and Japan to chronicle different, but all remarkably similar stories about civilization's need to offer some smalll, semblance of humanity before committing the most inhumane acts, such as breaking people's necks.
Reminiscient of the work of Errol Morris, Last Supper approaches its highly political subject matter with a macabre sense of humor and an artful collection of tableaus and creative illustrations (from plates of final meals to a steak cut into the shape of the United States to a hanging mobile of last cigarettes.) It's a sharp, funny work, and worthy of a wider audience in the U.S., which ranks forth in the world in number of executions behind China, Iran and Saudi Arabia.