Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The Gift That Keeps on Giving - Leaked Sony Email Challenges Denzel Washington's Overseas Box Office Appeal The Gift That Keeps on Giving - Leaked Sony Email Challenges Denzel Washington's Overseas Box Office Appeal Backlash Against New VH1 Series 'Sorority Sisters' Backlash Against New VH1 Series 'Sorority Sisters' Tessa Thompson Books Female Lead Role in Ryan Coogler's 'Creed' Opposite Michael B. Jordan Tessa Thompson Books Female Lead Role in Ryan Coogler's 'Creed' Opposite Michael B. Jordan Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Page to Screen Possibilities for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Americanah' (Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo Starring) Page to Screen Possibilities for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Americanah' (Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo Starring) David Oyelowo Joins Lupita Nyong’o in 'Americanah' Film Adaptation David Oyelowo Joins Lupita Nyong’o in 'Americanah' Film Adaptation Leaked Sony Emails Reveal Interest in Destiny's Child Biopic + Immersive Kanye West Feature Film Experience Leaked Sony Emails Reveal Interest in Destiny's Child Biopic + Immersive Kanye West Feature Film Experience Weekend B.O. Dec. 12-14 (So How’s That Boycott Working for Ya?) Weekend B.O. Dec. 12-14 (So How’s That Boycott Working for Ya?) FX Orders Comedy Pilot on Atlanta Hip-Hop Scene From & Starring Donald Glover FX Orders Comedy Pilot on Atlanta Hip-Hop Scene From & Starring Donald Glover Chadwick Boseman, David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Rosario Dawson, Others Share Kisses in NY Times Shorts Chadwick Boseman, David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Rosario Dawson, Others Share Kisses in NY Times Shorts What Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal Should Do if She Sincerely Wants to Make Amends What Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal Should Do if She Sincerely Wants to Make Amends Ava DuVernay Earns Her Way Into the History Books - First Black Woman Director to Be Nominated for a Golden Globe Award Ava DuVernay Earns Her Way Into the History Books - First Black Woman Director to Be Nominated for a Golden Globe Award Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Will You Join The Boycott 'Exodus' Movement? (Or You Don't Care) Will You Join The Boycott 'Exodus' Movement? (Or You Don't Care) My MoviePass Experience - What Works & What Could Be Improved (The Movie Theater Subscription Service) My MoviePass Experience - What Works & What Could Be Improved (The Movie Theater Subscription Service) Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Will Smith Explains Why Willow Smith Dropped Out Of 'Annie' Remake Will Smith Explains Why Willow Smith Dropped Out Of 'Annie' Remake Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Watch Now: 1976 Cuban Film 'The Last Supper', A Compelling, Dark Tale Based on True Story

Shadow and Act By Vanessa Martinez | Shadow and Act July 30, 2012 at 9:39PM

A must-see and recommended watch, I’ve embedded the film in full (with subtitles) below. The film is also available on Netflix, although not streaming.
1
The Last Supper

A must-see and recommended watch, I’ve embedded the film in full (with subtitles) below. The film is also available on Netflix, although not streaming.

The 1976 Cuban film The Last Supper (La Ultima Cena), directed by Tomas Gutierrez Alea from a screenplay penned by Alea and Maria Eugenia Haya, is based on a real life incident, which occurred in Cuba during the 1780’s.

Alea, whose directorial efforts include the acclaimed films Memories of Underdevelopment (1968) and Death of a Bureaucrat (1966), was inspired by a footnote in Manuel Moreno Fraginals’ post-revolutionary historiography The Sugarmill, in which a plantation owner - on a Maundy Thursday (before Good Friday) - washed the feet of 12 slaves and dined with them at his table.

The Last Supper is quite fascinating, uncompromising and poignant as it exposes colonial Cuba’s contradictions and religious hypocrisy to condone the brutal treatment of slaves. You will find this rhetoric isn’t exclusive to Cuban slavery, the Caribbean or South America; it’s very much relevant to U.S., albeit its own complex dynamics. It’s protagonist, a Count and the sugarmill plantation owner, is a religious, guilt-ridden man.

As a means to encourage productivity, subservience and perhaps contentment among slaves after their brutal abuse perpetrated by the overseer Don Manuel (in one scene Don Manuel cuts the ear off the runaway in front of a repulsed Count), the Count decides to recreate the biblical ‘Last Supper,’ in which he, self-servingly, although wearing a mask of humility, compares himself to Christ to the slaves’ apostles.

It’s a complex system indeed; there weren’t laws against miscegenation. A good-will, a kind-hearted town priest, who counsels the Count, attempts to indoctrinate the slaves and up until the very end opposes the abuse slaves and prosecution of runaways.

The highlight of the film though is the long brilliant, amusing and intense ‘supper’ scene in which the Count and the slaves mingle, tell stories and frolic over abundant food and wine. The Count gains their trust by granting freedom to an old slave, and promising them a happy ever after in heaven.

And also, the Count promises them a Good Friday day off from labor. However, he also delivers sermons on subservience and true freedom; he also talks of Blacks having natural aptitude for hard labor; according to the Count’s “wisdom” nothing belongs to us, all we truly own is our sorrow, which in turn, is given to God with joy, hence real freedom.

“Why do the Blacks have to put up with beatings and why don’t the overseers get beat too?” asks one of the slaves at the table, to which the master yells back in a drunken stupor, “Because It is God’s will! God’s punishment; God is merciful, but not to the disobedient.”

A slave rebellion and some chilling sequences ensue as the overseer Don Manuel doesn't grant the slaves the Good Friday day off as promised. Some may label the film as heavy-handed; its agenda is clear, but it is also compelling in its multi-dimensional, complex characterizations. The slaves nor the Count are entirely good or evil.

Here's the full synopsis,

Attempting to fulfill a religious obligation, the Count of a sugar mill in Cuba at the end of the eighteenth century decides to recreate the Last Supper, playing Jesus Christ himself and randomly selecting twelve slaves as his disciples.  Tensions break out between Don Manuel, a cruel, hardened overseer who believes that slaves have nothing to do with God and that letting slaves eat at the master's table is a ridiculous and dangerous practice, and the priest of the mill who believes Christians have a duty to educate and convert the slaves.  Among the twelve slaves picked is Sebastian, a stubborn and determined slave who has had his ear cut off and fed to dogs after his most recent escape attempt.  The Count makes sure Sebastian is seated at the table and gives him the role of Judas for his inability to embrace life at the mill as Judas failed to embrace Christ.  The master and slaves get drunk, and the master makes several promises during the dinner that he either forgets or refuses to keep, among them the promise that the slaves will not have to work Good Friday.  The slaves are forced to work, however, causing a revolt that will lead to the beheading of all the slaves at the dinner except Sebastian, who may have strange powers no one thought possible.  The Last Supper is a chilling look at the western view of slavery through the centuries, showing a world in which whites and blacks do not understand the consequences of their actions.

You are highly encouraged to watch the film in its entirety below:

This article is related to: Watch Now


Shadow & ActNewsletter