La Ùltima Cena (The Last Super)

The film, La Ùltima Cena, depicts the tale of a Havana sugar can plantation during Holy Week.  The Count who owns the plantation orders the overseer to collect 12 slaves and bring them to his table for dinner.  The is a representation of the Last Super.  The Count attempts to instill the ideals of pure happiness as a slave to the slaves but instead gives the slaves the idea to rebel against the overseer, Don Manuel, when he attempts to force them to work on Good Friday.  The kill him and burn the mill to the ground.  The 12 slaves that were invited to dinner are killed except for one, Sebastian.  He escaped and is seen in the film to turn into either a hawk, water, rock, or a horse (Mraz, 118-119). He is seen as a magical being throughout the film.

The depiction of the slaves in this film is historically accurate.  Stated in the Schultz article, the people did not see that the African slaves should automatically become citizens.  It states that, “it frightens me to see that the African has only to obtain a letter of manumission, which is a deed that simply authorizes him to dispose of his time, and he enters ipso facto into the union of the Brazilian family, becomes our brother…”.  The Count attempted to create the illusion that in God’s eyes we are all equal but in fact he did not care about the slaves that he invited to his table or any of the others.  He promised them that they would not have to work the fields on Good Friday but allowed the overseer to force them to work, ending in mutiny that cost Don Manuel his life and many slaves theirs as well.  

The film does a good job in showing that the religious protection of slaves by the Church during this time has become a thing of the past.  When the priest attempts to stand up for the slaves on Good Friday, the Count denies him even after he both promises the slaves and tells the priest that he will respect the ways of the Church.  Mraz also shows us that the laws protecting the slaves were dead amongst the population in the country.  This is shown by how the Count frees the slave and then later he is forced back into bondage.  He also points out that the slave laws were easily manipulated by the plantation owner in the country because there is no real enforcement to uphold them. 

Another interesting aspect that Mraz points out is the element that the slaves from different origins.  This was not a common aspect of similar films.  This helps the credibility of the film’s accuracy.