This film brought out the horrors of slavery and helped to show why such an institution is both morally wrong and brutal. One part which really struck me was towards the beginning of the film when a priest is talking to the slaves about God and his will for them. He preached that it was their duty as Christians to be good slaves and kind to their masters in order for them to ever reach Heaven. The Catholic priest uses a psychological means through his preaching in order to keep the slaves in line with slavery. This psychological hold over the slaves would be part of one of the main themes of the film, which is how religion was used by the slave trade and how it could be used to better enslave the African Americans in Cuba. While the priest believes this to be the best way to maximize the slaves production, it comes in conflict with the overseers agenda in keeping the slaves working as long as possible. The readings put this best in “Thus, in broad strokes, The Last Supper, provides an insightful glance into the functioning paternalism and religion in slave society”(Mraz). People will read about the evils of slavery but you really don’t understand what these people really had to deal with until you witness it. An example from the film is when one of the slaves is caught trying to escape and as punishment he gets his ear cut off.
During the last supper scene the slaves owner tells them their hard work will pay off in the next life. The slaves do not accept this and one will go on into a story of Santeria. This shows the films target audience among the Cuban people and can have two different goals. One is instilling Cuban pride through the target audience while the other can perpetuate support for the Cuban government at the time the film was produced, which is the Communist government of Fidel Castro. The ending of the film is hard to watch due to both its brutality and unhappiness. The ending best represents how the film is trying to show why subjugated people should never revolt against their masters. The heads of the revolting slaves being cut off and placed on sticks represents what will happen to those who go against the law. This scene can show how the communist government wanted the people of Cuba to see their fate if they were to revolt against the government in place.
This film was hard to watch at times due to the brutality but it really put in perspective what slaves had to go through, while also showing that slavery wasn’t the same around the world. In Cuba both religion and brute force were used in keeping slaves in line with their masters bidding. The evils of slavery were shown extremely well in this film, while also the extreme measures people will go through in order to secure their freedom.