Dancing, as seen in some of the artwork in http://hitchcock.itc.virginia.edu/Slavery/index.php is a prominent part of the African slave culture, well portrayed in the supper portion of the film and in the readings. One of the 12 danced frequently while telling his stories with a smile on his face. The contagious laughter of the others only encouraged him; he seemed to enjoy entertaining them. Current dance craves probably got their origins from this era, like The SpongeBob and The Dougie (see YouTube if these are unfamiliar). This was essentially the only happy scene in the movie, which is understandable because slave’s lives and issues they dealt with were in no way positive and uplifting.
The film stuck pretty close to the historical anecdote that inspired it(described in the Mraz article), right down to the heads on stakes shown near the end. The author also points out that the laws can be ignored and decisions can be overridden if not agreed with, like the slave who was free according to the counts blessing but not to the overseer. The overseers can get away with much of the abuse on the mill not only because it is probably tucked away in the country side far from curious eyes, but because of the laws. As Fuente pointed out, the Spanish law was not complete and had many loopholes about these things.
It’s uncomfortable reading about the “value of a human” in the slaves article, but how nice of the judge to allow her to pick a master when she pleased (sarcasm intended)! While trading and selling isn’t prominent in La Ultima Cena, a theme of blatant unfairness to slaves is interwoven throughout the readings and the film. The slaves in are bossed about and treated worse than animals.
The massage scene was a touch awkward, where the father was in the bathtub while the count was getting a massage from a servant. They both casually carried out conversations while he was getting a rubdown. Also found it interesting when the father calls the women daughters of Satan when they laugh at him. Both of these scenarios seem uncharacteristic of a holy man. The mentality that the overseer is like Christ is present in the movie and was present historically. These people thought they had all of his power and authority. The movie even went as far as to compare the characters time of death to Jesus’ on Good Friday.
In conclusion, La ultima cena was historically accurate, and used descriptive imagery to display the Havana sugar mill to its’ viewers.