Monday, August 30, 2010

Africa Addio (1966)

Africa Addio: The Director's Cut

Written and Directed by Gualtiero Jacopetti & Franco E. Prosperi

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen. The mother of all Mondo movies. It seems that in the mid-sixties, Africa was in a state of serious social change and a couple of very brave filmmakers decided to fly on over and capture it all for posterity, so that when the New Africa took over they could look back at what the Old Africa was once like.


And it's all here for your viewing pleasure, although maybe pleasure isn't quite the word for it. Shock. Appall. Disbelief. These are more suitable terms. Caught on tape are vicious scenes of military involvement, war, crime and murder of all kinds. In most cases, the filmmakers were careful to capture both sides of the story without glorification or bias. You witness horrendous crimes committed by individuals and then you see those individuals on trial. You see “civilized” man hunt for game and then you see tribal men hunt for food. You see poachers killing protected animals for profit and then you see their capture by the police and the surviving animals nursed back to health by wildlife officials.


Make note that the version I'm reviewing is the unedited Director's Cut and not the shortened and censored Americanized version (which I haven't seen.) That being said, this film is not for everyone. Children and the squeamish should avoid this at all costs. If you can't stand the sight of blood, animal mutilations, death and executions, or corpses of all kinds—men, women and children—don't even think of popping this into your player.


After seeing a number of supposedly-real-but-actually-badly-staged Mondo films, I went into this with a bit of hesitation despite the reports I had heard this one was genuine. The reports were accurate, this one is all real. And all disturbing. But, also unlike most other Mondos, Africa Addio plays it straight as a genuine documentary and stays away from the exploitative (except for the inexplicable beach scenes thrown somewhere in the middle, presumably to break up the tension. Those were just bouncy-bouncy fun fun fun fun fun!) Because it delivers the facts of the time and does not glorify the deaths portrayed, as the more modern and despicable Faces of Death rip-offs do, I can recommend this film with a clean conscience.

Clocking in at just under 2 ½ hours, some people might find this film a bit too long. Just remember that Africa is a large continent. They have a lot of land to cover.

ALSO KNOWN AS: Africa Blood and Guts; Farewell Africa

1966
Rated R
140 minutes
Color
Italy
Italian, some English (with English subtitles)

--J/Metro

2 comments:

  1. I don't know if I'd ever be interested in seeing AFRICO ADDIO myself, but I learned all about it in the fabulous & essential movie book, KILLING FOR CULTURE: DEATH FILM FROM MONDO TO SNUFF by David Kerekes. Check it out if you haven't.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Will: Haven't heard of that tome, but I'll keep an eye out for it.

    --J/Metro

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