Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi could have stopped with Mondo Cane, but no, they had more people to educate. And offend. Actually, mostly offend. This three-year in the making ode to the end of the colonial era in Africa is a barrage of brutality, set to the wondrous music of Riz Ortolani.
Some claimed that the scene that shows the execution of a Congolese Simba Rebel had been filmed expressly for the film, which led to Jacopetti’s arrest on charges of murder. The film was seized by police and editing for the movie had to stop. When Prosperi produced documents proving they had arrived at the scene just before the execution, he was freed.
The American version of the film — which is the one I saw — was edited and translated without Jacopetti, who claimed that this new version of his movie Africa Addio is a betrayal. That version is missing 45 minutes of political setup and exclusively features carnage and gore.
This film more than struck a nerve. While Prospero would say, “The public was not ready for this kind of truth,” and Jacopetti claimed that the movie “was not a justification of colonialism, but a condemnation for leaving the continent in a miserable condition,” the team’s follow-up Addio Zio Tom — while intended supposedly to be an answer to the charges of racism in this film — somehow is even more vile.
You can even see the entire film crew nearly killed while making this movie. They put their lives on the line to bring this to you. Whether you want it or are ready for it are decisions left up to you.
You can watch this on Tubi.