6.8/10
187
4 user 10 critic

Black Jesus (1968)

Seduto alla sua destra (original title)
GP | | Drama | 25 August 1971 (USA)
Rebel Maurice Lalubi is arrested by the military on trumped up charges and tortured, which turns him into a martyr. Inspired by the final days of the first democratic Congolese leader, Patrice Lumumba.

Director:

Valerio Zurlini

Writers:

Valerio Zurlini (story), Franco Brusati (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Woody Strode ... Maurice Lalubi
Franco Citti ... Oreste
Jean Servais ... Commander
Pier Paolo Capponi ... Officer
Stephen Forsyth ... Prisoner (as Stephen Forsyte)
Luciano Catenacci Luciano Catenacci ... Sergeant (as Luciano Lorcas)
Salvatore Basile ... (as Salvo Basile)
Giuseppe Transocchi Giuseppe Transocchi
Silvio Fiore Silvio Fiore
Renzo Rossi Renzo Rossi
Mirella Pamphili ... (as Mirella Panfili)
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Storyline

A Congo rebel leader is captured and imprisoned with two white felons in this 81-minute feature containing religious symbolism and condemnation of colonial exploitation. Maurice Lalubi is thrown in jail with a soldier and an Italian thief. The trio endures torture at the hands of their captors, while a newly formed military regime decides the fate of the insurgent. The entire horror of the confrontation is seen through his eyes throughout Lalubi's interrogation and torture. His imminent demise could turn him into a martyr and spell trouble for the new government dictator in this sometimes violent film. Written by Clint Weiler

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He who ain't with me--is AGAINST me.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

25 August 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Seated at His Right See more »

Filming Locations:

Africa See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally planned as an episode of the collective movie Amore e rabbia (1969), it was eventually expanded to a feature length. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Come of Age (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A brilliant, mercilessly hardcore political film; probably Woody Strode's greatest role
19 March 2001 | by Aw-komonSee all my reviews

It's funny that one of the alternate titles for this film is "Super Brother"! "Super Brother"?! I guess they must have been referring to the iconic super-athlete-turned-actor Woody Strode and trying to sell this brilliant, Pontecorvo-esque Battle-of-Algiers-Queimada-Burn-like 1968 anti-colonialist political Italian film to a blaxploitation/spaghetti-Western/action-film crowd! Zurlini's film is definitely hardcore, violent, and has some action, but it is anything but blaxploitation; even with all its flaws it's one of the fantastic achievements of the politically committed 'Marxist' cinema of the period, at the very least, on the level of Pontecorvo's much more widely seen "Burn," starring Marlon Brando. Snobs and perfectionists may disagree with that assessment but real film fans know that imperfect, flawed films are often far preferable in every way to films that play by the rules and criterion set-up by bozo mainstream critics. "Black Jesus," and most of Zurlini's other films are underrated masterpieces that have slipped through the crack of history and are ripe for rediscovery. I thoroughly enjoyed all 8 of Zurlini's films screened at UCLA recently and would buy at least 6 of them on DVD tomorrow if they were available. All 8 of them should be put out on good DVDs, not cut-up pan-and-scan videos (and especially, "Black Jesus" because it was shot in 2.35:1 widescreen)!

One of the flaws associated with the film is that it was post-production dubbed in the typically bizarre sounding Italian style of that era but to me that's not a big problem: the film itself being intentionally played slightly 'over-the-top' this 'aural distancing' only adds to its surreal, dreamlike, hypnotic, and totally flabergasting power. "Black Jesus" is a dramatic re-creation of events that actually happened (again like Pontecorvo's "Burn"), though the names and locales have been changed to wisely avoid accusations of historical innaccuracy with regard to details. The entire film has one major purpose: to put you in direct contact with the brute facts of colonialism and make you very mad that injustice goes unpunished, and it uses parable to drive its point home. The long, meditative, almost Antonioni-paced prison conversation between Strode and his unlucky knave of a cell-mate as he awaits the sure to be bleak fate of one who doesn't compromise with tyrants, sets up one of the most harrowing and shattering torture scenes in cinematic history (harder to take than anything in Midnight Express or Reservoir Dogs). Not one inch is granted to audience sensitivities and conditioning and their need to have 'escapist' entertainment; the entire film is completely uncompromised, bleak, hard-to-take, powerful, and in the final analysis, a truly awesome achievement that transcends all its flaws.


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