Customer Review

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent BoxSet from Blue Underground!!!, November 10, 2003
This review is from: Mondo Cane Collection - Limited Edition (Mondo Cane / Women of the World / Mondo Cane 2 / Africa Addio - English Version / Africa Addio - Directors' Cut / Goodbye Uncle Tom - English Version / Addio Zio Tom - Director's Cut / The Godfathers of Mondo (DVD)
There is no denying the importance of the films of Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi as they have influenced everything from hardcore horror films ie Cannibal Holocaust to broadcast news and the reality TV craze of today. Blue Underground in an ambitious move have put out this great 8 disc box set (limited to 10,000 copies) which should more than satisfy any mondo fan.
The first two discs are Mondo Cane and Mondo Cane 2. Mondo Cane is certainly a milestone and in fact this entire genre of "shocking documentaries" which where made by Euro filmmakers is better known as the 'mondo' genre. Essentially Mondo Cane is a strange journey into some of the more bizarre and macabre places with the camera voyeuristically witnessing all kinds of oddities and bringing them back for the curious viewer. Mondo Cane 2 continues this tradition. The third disc Women of the World is similar but all the footage is tied together by a common theme of the varied roles women play in different parts of the world.
The next 2 discs are the cut English language version of Africa Addio and the Italian language uncut version. Considered by many to be the greatest mondo doco of all time, the crew head of into Africa during it's transition from colonial control. While the majority of this focuses on the interactions of white and black and some long sequences on the fate of wildlife with laws protecting them diminished (countless animals are gunned down and speared in these scenes and hippos are dismembered) what sets this apart is the aftermath of several massacres caught on film. Later the crew hook up with a group of mercenaries (these nuts look as though they just walked of col. Kurtz's compound in 'Apocalypse Now') and go on a mission, filming a couple of executions.
After the English language print was recut to exclude much political commentary and the censored version was released the film makers came under fire and accused of exploitation, racism and some even called them murders (accusing them of paying for the executions). Being labeled racists must have really angered Jacopetti and Prosperi resulting in them making Addio Zio Tom (Goodbye Uncle Tom) in order to prove that they are not racist.
The next 2 discs are Goodbye Uncle Tom in the cut English version and Italian Language directors cut (this disc alone in worth the price of the set). The butchered English version done little to mend their reputations as in order to have it released alternate versions of scenes were shot and some extreme (but easily justified) politics were omitted. In essence it became a different movie.
The director's cut of Goodbye Uncle Tom is one of the most amazing films I have ever seen. While some scenes are mondo filmed modern 70's events in America, the majority of this film is a departure of the mondo formula as they have made a regular motion picture with actors and sets under the pretense of them traveling back in time to shoot a mondo doco on the slave trade in America pre civil war. All these scenes are set up based on factual accounts and are unsparingly brutal and authentic, literally using 1000s of extras. The sweeping photography and epic scale of this film as we are taken into various aspects of slavery make for a simply breathtaking motion picture experience.
Some people have claimed these scenes are a false representation, by pointing out silly little things like "there probably wouldn't be so many slaves in the house" and "they wouldn't be allowed to jump on the bed like that" as well as others who are infuriated by this film claiming that "it was never as depraved as this" but once again this film is clearly well researched quoting writers of the time and besides how could any people who kept slaves not be "depraved" anyway? Gone With the Wind this certainly is not. Roots, while well made and genuinely heartfelt, is pure sacarine by comparison. Steven Speilberg made the typically cowardly film 'Amistaad'. How can this courtroom drama depicting Europeans as being cruel to slaves and Americans liberating them via the righteous legal system be hailed as "tackling slavery head on" when it completely ignores the 200 years of slavery in America? Goodbye Uncle Tom is clearly a one of a kind spectacle and in my humble opinion the best disc in the set.
The final disc is a doco on the filmmakers themselves, rounding out what is an awesome boxset!
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