La última cena

The Last Supper is based on a slaveholder who believes he can humble himself by reenacting Jesus’ last supper. Count de Casa Bayona owns a growing sugar mill that is overseen by a ruthless Mexican by the name of Don Manuel. Along with a host of other working associates, and a priest; the mill is run predominantly by slave power. The count believes that slaves were put on the earth to work and must serve their master to reach heaven. He feels poorly that the slaves are beaten unmercifully by overseer Manuel, but refuses to interfere with him because of the work that the slaves are completing.

Instead he decides to host a version of Jesus’ last supper. He has Manuel select twelve different slaves. Next he washes and kisses the feet of the slaves and then invites them to sit with him for a grand meal. Moreover, Count Bayona hosts this meal during Holy Week. The count believes the meal goes well. A slave named Sebastian, who was recently de-eared for trying to escape, tells a story of Truth and Lies. He tries to convince the other slaves that their master is trying to influence them to be content with slavery at the mill. However, many slaves are loyal to the Count; they believe that he is a great owner for allowing them to eat at the same table as he. The scene of the last supper ends with Sebastian blowing some sort of powder into the counts face. Earlier in the movie some workers believe that he is magical. Could this be some magical powder or could it just be sugar powder?

As the next day begins, the count is told of some terrible news by his workers; the slaves have revolted. An attempt to warn the count by a few of his loyal slaves fails and the destruction of the mill commences. They take Manuel hostage and Sebastian guts him. Many of the slaves flee into the woods but are eventually cut down by the count’s workers who ride armed on horseback. The only remaining escaping slave is Sebastian. The movie ends with him running through the woods; we are to believe that he escaped.
This time period gives little primary documents, especially form the perspective of a slave. In chapter seven of Donald Steven’s, Based on a true story, Latin American history at the movies, he says Robert Rosenstone (film historian) argues that, “a film must engage, directly or obliquely, the issues, ideas, data, and arguments of the ongoing discourse of history” (114-115). Director Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
recreates the harshness of sugar cane production while also showing a slaves power of agency, i.e. Antonio’s dancing, the slave’s story telling, and their attempted escape. Viewing history through motion pictures give audiences a more personal experience; allowing them to engage with the actors.