Addio Zio Tom Goodbye Uncle Tom

Andrew reviews one of the most offensive movies in the history of cinema.
  1. Goodbye Uncle Tom
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  3. Goodbye Uncle Tom Cast
  4. Goodbye Uncle Tom
  5. Addio Zio Tom 1971

UncleTom

Goodbye Uncle Tom

Addio zio Tom (Goodbye Uncle Tom) is a controversial 1971 Italian Mondo Exploitation Film directed by Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi (of Mondo Cane fame). The film involves the aforementioned two travelling back in time to deep southern pre-Civil War America and examining the degrading conditions in which African slaves lived. They go to a dinner party where guests throw scraps of food to half-naked black children huddling under the table; a slave-ship fresh from Africa wherein the. Fair use in effect. Contrast of historical accounts in popular media. Goodbye Uncle Tom (Italian: Addio Zio Tom) is a 1971 Italian film directed by Mondo fi.

Afterthe enormous controversy generated by AfricaAddio (known in the US as Africa:Blood and Guts), the ‘Godfathers of Mondo’ or Italian shockumentariansGualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi set out to make a Mondo mockumentarythat would make the furor surrounding the aforementioned film seem mild bycomparison. While Africa Addio drew worldwide ire including public denunciation fromthe United Nations ambassador Arthur Goldberg for it’s very real onscreen humandeaths and unrelenting animal cruelty and accusations of racism and generalinsensitivity, Addio Zio Tom (renamedGoodbye Uncle Tom for domesticrelease) somehow managed to offend on a greater level despite being almostentirely staged. Partially the ultimateMondo movie and the zenith of exploitation filmmaking, Goodbye Uncle Tom is 12 Yearsa Slave done Mondo Cane stylewith their usual blend of voiceover narration, operatic soundtrack by Cannibal Holocaust composer Riz Ortolaniand unrelenting gawking at pure shock and awe.

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'God damnit!!! Put some pants on already!!!'
Subvertingtheir own sensationalist personas, Prosperi and Jacopetti quite literallytravel back in time with their familiar helicopter to nineteenth centuryantebellum America (actually shot in Haiti) to film slavery in action.Fans of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive will recognize the theme song Oh My Love sung by Katelyn Ranieriimmediately as the helicopter passes over plantations and slave traders.As the film progresses, much like Cannibal Holocaust, Ortolani will reworkthis theme in a myriad of ways, all to highly subversive and disturbingeffect.Shot in widescreen, we enter thehousehold of a slave owner and bear witness to virtually every exploitation of thehuman body the historical texts or, more to the point, Prosperi and Jacopettican conjure up in front of the camera.If you thought the television show Rootsor films like Amistad and 12 Years a Slave were unpleasant toponder let alone sit through, you really haven’t seen the mouth of Hell that isGoodbye Uncle Tom and for that mattermight be all the better off for it.Thefilmmakers have always gloated over the gory details and in the case of Goodbye Uncle Tom, the word itself is achildishly inadequate description of just how much these two wallow inoutrageously taboo imagery.
Partof what makes Goodbye Uncle Tom soshocking is its lack of a moral compass. Where other treatments of the subject provided a diametrically opposedattitude towards the maltreatment of Africans, Prosperi and Jacopetti try tofurther displace the viewer into the historical timeframe by siding up with thecaptors, making us eerily complicit in the wrongdoing on display. In order to better understand the mindset ofthat time, as it were, Goodbye Uncle Tom placesyou in the shoes of those cracking the whips. For a while, Goodbye Uncle Tom succeedsin completely offending you as much as humanly possible but then Prosperi andJacopetti ratchet the subversion even further by staging revenge murderscommitted by ex-slaves against their former owners as modern day Black Pantherraids, including but not limited to an unintentionally hilarious moment wherean infant is smashed to death against a wall. American distributors were so incensed by these scenes that much of thefootage was excised from the domestic version.

'I'm Eddie Murphy. Touch my ball.'

Understandably,Goodbye Uncle Tom was burned at thestake by the critics with Roger Ebert accurately pointing out the notion of thefilm being used for educational purposes was a smokescreen for their real aimswhich were to stage a geek show. Considered both racist and a call to racial violence, Goodbye Uncle Tom quietly slinked out oftheaters before finding a second life among fans of exploitation cinema. While I’m not so sure just how “racist” thefilm actually is at heart, I’m absolutely certain of it being a chunk ofviolence porn with no clue where and when to stop. As another entry in the unending debate aboutthe validity of the Mondo exploitation subgenre, Goodbye Uncle Tom is something of an outlier for the shockumentaryduo for being entirely reenacted, fantastical and even operatic at times. Arguably their one and only fiction filmbased on a historical subject, GoodbyeUncle Tom is a punishing eyesore made all the more horrifying by theexploitative sensibility behind it. While I can’t necessarily in good conscience recommend this film, it wasundeniably extremely effective in how it systematically proceeded to rape myeyes and senses. If nothing else, you’llnever be able to hear that song in Drive thesame way again. You’ve been warned toenter at your own risk.
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Goodbye Uncle Tom

-Andrew Kotwicki

Addio Zio Tom 1971