Goodbye Uncle Tom  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Addio Zio Tom (Goodbye, Uncle Tom) is a 1971 film directed by Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi and features music by Riz Ortolani.

The closing credits state:

"All events, characters and institutions in this motion picture are historically documented and any similarity to any person, black or white, or to any actual events, or institutions is intentional and anything but coincidential." --from the credits to Goodbye Uncle Tom, see fictionalization and fiction disclaimer.

Addio Zio Tom is a pseudo documentary where the filmmakers go back in time and visit the American South during the slave era, and examines, in graphic detail, the degrading conditions faced by Africans brought as slaves to the United States.

The Directors' cut of Addio Zio Tom draws explicit links between the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and pre-Civil War South.

American distributors felt that these particular scenes were too incendiary, and thus Jacopetti and Prosperi were forced to remove over 13 minutes of race war politics and inserting alternate scenes for the US/English speaking market.

Contents

Directors' cut

The Directors' cut of Addio Zio Tom draws parallels between the horrors and slavery and the rise of the Black Power Movement, represented by Eldridge Cleaver, LeRoi Jones, Stokely Carmichael, and a few others. 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, who replace the figures Turner talks about in Styron's novel as the unidentified reader speculates about Turner's motivations and ultimate efficacy in changing the conditions he rebelled against. 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.

Re-enactment of the Civil War

The movie ends with a re-enactment of the Civil War followed directly by a repetition of the opening sequence revealing, among other things, the film equipment. This mocked re-enactment of an historical event, alongside the fantasy re-enactments of Styron's novel, suggests the film's self-critique.

Product description

It was advertised as, "The first motion picture based on historical facts about the rise and revolt of slavery in America." It became one of the most reviled and misunderstood films of its time. Written, edited, produced, and directed by Jacopetti & Prosperi, this epic recreation of the American slave trade atrocities was both condemned as depraved exploitation and acclaimed as an unprecedented cry of Black anguish and rage.

See also

African slave trade, slave narrative, blaxploitation, Uncle Tom




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Goodbye Uncle Tom" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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