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My Movie Year–Day 4: Addio Zio Tom


What’s a (insert name of film here)?: Wha…I’m sorry, I’m a bit too shell shocked to say. I guess the simple answer is that Addio Zio Tom is Italian for Goodbye Uncle Tom, which is the title of an edited cut that made its way to the states upon its initial release. Addio Zio Tom is the director’s cut. It is also quite the mindfuck.

Who did this to you?: A bunch of Italians.

Why now?: I’ve heard tell that this is perhaps one of the most exploitative and offensive movies ever made. How can anyone pass that up?

Did you like it?: Oh god…

How come?: There may be something fundamentally wrong with you if you actually “enjoy” this movie. The stuff we’re presented with here is beyond belief in a lot of ways. Babies are shoved into troughs filled with a sort of liquidized bread and force-fed the slop, men are hung nude from their ankles (in fact, there’s rarely a moment in this film when you’re not confronted with nudity of some sort) and black children are fed scraps from the table of a bunch of Italians pretending to be rich, white southerners. Need I say more?

Yes? Okay, the movie is predicated on the idea that a group of Italians (the creators of the Monde Cane series) have time traveled back to the era of the American slave trade. How do they get there, you ask? By HELICOPTER! We’re then treated to 2 hours and 16 minutes of the most powerful and evocative imagery that I may have ever seen. Seriously, the fact that this move is meant to shed light on the subject of slavery is completely undercut by most of the things that the filmmakers subject their cast to. And that’s what put this movie over the edge for me—the borderline schizophrenic ideologies that the directors have peppered throughout the film.

I don’t know what the true intentions of the filmmakers were when they put this thing together, but if they were good, then I honestly have no idea what bad intentions are anymore.

What else?: If you made it through Salo, then you might stand a chance with this film. I personally think that some of the stuff here is more difficult to watch, but I guess that just depends on the sort of deviancy that you’re used to.

What’s the moral?: White people are evil and black people from the 70s wanted to kill them just as much as they did during the Nat Turner slave uprisings. Also, it’s okay to treat black people like shit as long as there’s an Italian film crew around to record it.

Are you sure you want this to be your written record of how you feel about this movie?: Not really. I’m certain that my disgust with this film isn’t going to fade any time soon, but I’m giving it a short shrift because there’s a lot of other stuff that I have to write tonight (sorry). I’m sure I’ll come back and update this post later in the week, but for now you’ll just have to live with this knee jerk reaction.

Best Scene: Best? I don’t even know how to qualify this.

Breast Scene?: Most of the film.  And if watching black women caked in dust and grease is your idea of sexy, then this is the film for you.  There are also more cocks on display than the director’s cut of Caligula.

Death Scene?: A white baby is pulled from its crib and slammed against the wall by a militant black dude. It’s one of the few moments in the film where the artifice is clear enough so that one (myself) can revel in it a bit. Seriously, the baby is remarkably fake and I feel like this would have been a great scene to watch with an audience.

Weirdest Scene: There’s an extended sequence with a midget in a brothel. He keeps shouting at his whores and proclaims that he is “The General” and that no one may touch his merchandise but him. He then proceeds to touch his merchandise.

Worst Scene: Anything involving children. When I do my update, I’ll explain more, but the baby in the trough scene is definitely a stand-out. The look on that poor kid’s face is heartbreaking.

What’s next?: Something lighter and most assuredly shorter. I saw The Reader today, which I liked, but obviously I can’t write about that because them’s the rules. Maybe Savage Streets. I need some cheesy gore to wash the taste of this movie out of my mouth. Maybe Fat Girl…that’s shorter, but I’ve heard it’s also sort of sad. We shall see.

 361 Days Left.


3 Responses

  1. Holy shit. This is the first time I’ve been ashamed to be Italian in like, at least a week.

  2. I’m really glad that you’re doing this Miles.

  3. Me too! As painful as this movie was, there hasn’t been another film I’ve wanted to talk about as much as this in a long time (and I WILL get into more detail on this beast as soon as I fulfill those aforementioned obligations).

    By the way, for those keeping score at home, the next film will be neither of the ones that I mentioned at the end of the post.

    Also, I’m always up for suggestions. I’ve got a nice little back catalogue of stuff I’d like to watch in the next few weeks, but I’m a movie shark, so I’ll eat anything.

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