is a 1966 Italian
about the end of
the colonial era in Africa
. The film was released
in a shorter format under the names "Africa Blood and
Guts" in the USA and "Farewell Africa" in the UK.
The film was shot over a period of three
years by Gualtiero Jacopetti
Franco Prosperi, two Italian filmmakers who had gained fame (along
with co-director Paolo Cavara
) as the
directors of Mondo Cane
in 1962. This
film ensured the viability of the so-called Mondo
film genre, a cycle of "shockumentaries"-
documentaries featuring sensational topics, which classifications
largely characterize "Africa Addio". It is included in the "Mondo
Cane Collection" currently being distributed by Blue
The film is edited with a style that numerous reviewers have deemed
to be a "pro-white European" and "pro-Colonialist" slant as seen
during the first wave of what became endemic African revolutions.
It makes virtually no references to past atrocities and
exploitations committed by European colonialists (eg: the Belgian
Congo or Firestone Tires) instead the film mainly focuses on the
atrocities and crimes committed by Black Africans. The film's
promotion, opening subtitles and subsequent narration clearly
inform the viewer that the sole purpose of this film is to serve as
a monument to the Africa once under white European
"Europe has abandoned her baby," the narrator mourns,
"just when it needs her the most."
Who has taken over, now that the colonialists have
The advertising announces: "Raw, wild, brutal,
Many sequences are staged or framed as Cinéma vérité
style but are
obvious reenactments. For instance, during one sequence, a black
youth is shown running through the fields, trailing behind him a
chunk of dead-fox on a rope. There are no foxes in Africa but the
British upper-classes from enjoy the traditional fox hunt
thus an obviously poverty-ravaged teenager
is used to run from the dogs instead. In anther sequence, a white
soldier, while capturing a black African implores him to: "Get
movin Sammy Davis!" The film includes many reenactments and jump
cuts to create a feeling of realism. Europeans are usually seen in
soft focus while they mourn their farms and homes being sold while
Black Africans are shot with fish eye lens and from what could
called unflattering angles.
Also included is realistic footage of the Zanzibar revolution
- which included the
massacre of approximately 5000 Arabs in 1964., as well authentic
footage of the 'Mau-Mau Rebellion's aftermath.
Controversies surrounding the film
- In West Germany, a protest movement against the film emerged
after "Africa Addio" was awarded by the state-controlled movie
rating board ("Filmbewertungsstelle Wiesbaden"). The protest was
chiefly organized by the Socialist German Student Union (SDS) and
groups of African students. In West Berlin, the distributor
resigned from showing the film after a series of demonstrations and
damages to cinemas. Today, the protests against "Africa Addio" are
regarded as being the first anti-racist movement in German
- The film has been banned as racist in Italy and England.
- Co-Director Gualtiero Jacopetti was accused of murder and tried
in Italy due to accusations that one of the executions which
appears in the film was staged for the camera. He was
- The film has had accusations that parts of it were staged or
even "created" leveled against it from various critics over the
years. The directors deny this, claiming in the documentary about
their work "The Godfathers of Mondo" that the only scenes they ever
staged were in Mondo Cane 2.
Roger Ebert's review
In his 1967
review of the film, Pulitzer Prize
winning journalist and film
critic Roger Ebert
called Africa Addio:
"...brutal, dishonest, racist..." In his review, he points to a
number of unlikely assertions and sequences on the part of the
filmmakers, and the likelihood of a number of scenes being staged.
Particularly, he questions the sequence where Boers leave Kenya in
"One dubious scene shows white Boers purportedly
leaving Kenya in cattle-drawn wagons for the long trek back to the
"A freedom march in reverse," the narrator
"These Boers settled Kenya generations ago, but have
been driven from their own country."
In fact, cattle-drawn wagons are no longer in general
use in Africa, as Jacopetti and Prosperi undoubtedly
Real Boers (there are a few among the mostly British
white population in Kenya) would probably call up a moving van for
their furniture and then fly down to the Cape."
Ebert also questions the graphic hunting sequences:
"Other scenes are equally preposterous.
We are told that Africans, lacking modern weapons,
surround an area the size of Rhode Island, 10,000 strong, and close
in on the trapped game, Ha!
We are told that the Zambesi River was plundered of
thousands of hippos in 1963, to provide cheap food.
In fact, the Zambesi was in white hands in 1963, and
essentially still is.
Nor does Rhodesia or Zambia consume a lot of hippo
None, in fact.
Another suspicious scene shows "poachers" torturing an
elephant to death.
The early footage is shot at ground level.
After we have seen enough suffering, the camera goes
aloft and we are told it's in a helicopter flown by game
In fact, it's the same helicopter used throughout the
Was the scene staged, or did real poachers conveniently
agree to star?
It seems pretty clear that the elephant died for our
Later, we learn that it was pregnant."
Ebert finally summed up his revulsion of the film by saying:
"...If only they were honestly presented, set in
context, perhaps they could be justified.
But they are not.
Instead, they are staged for our amusement, cloaked in
the respectability of an "impartial" documentary, and in the end
that is the most disgusting thing about this wretched
International opening crawl variations
Notable differences are also present between the Italian and
English-language versions in terms of the text of the film. Many
advocates of the film feel that it has unfairly maligned the
original intentions of the filmmakers. The subtitled translation of
the opening crawl in the Italian version reads:
- "The Africa of the great explorers, the huge land of
hunting and adventure adored by entire generations of children, has
disappeared forever. To that age-old Africa, swept away
and destroyed by the tremendous speed of progress, we have said
farewell. The devastation, the slaughter, the massacres
which we assisted belong to a new Africa– one which if it emerges
from its ruins to be more modern, more rational, more functional,
more conscious- will be unrecognizable.
- "On the other hand, the world is racing toward better
times. The new America rose from the ashes of a few white
man, all the redskins, and the bones of millions of buffalo.
The new, carved up Africa will rise again upon the tombs of a
few white men, millions of black men, and upon the immense
graveyards that were once its game reserves. The endeavor
is so modern and recent that there is no room to discuss it at the
moral level. The purpose of this film is only to bid
farewell to the old Africa that is dying and entrust to history the
documentation of its agony"
The English version:
- "The old Africa has disappeared. Untouched
Jungles, huge herds of game, high adventure, the happy hunting
ground- those are the dreams of the past. Today there is a
new Africa - modern and ambitious. The old Africa died
amidst the massacres and devastations we filmed. But
revolutions, even for the better, are seldom pretty.
America was built over the bones of thousands of pioneers and
revolutionary soldiers, hundreds of thousands of Indians, and
millions of Bison. The new Africa emerges over the graves
of thousands of whites and Arabs, and millions of blacks, and over
the bleak boneyards that once were the game reserves.
- "What the camera sees, it films pitilessly, without
sympathy, without taking sides. Judging is for you to do,
later. This film only says farewell to the old Africa, and
gives to the world the pictures of its agony."
Running length and film credits
Poster for Africa Addio
its 1970 U.S. release as Africa Blood and Guts
Various cuts of the film have appeared over the years. IMDB
lists the total runtime as 140 minutes, and a
'complete' version currently offered online via Google Video runs
closest to that at 138'(minutes) 37"(seconds)
.This is an Italian-language based
version, with a clear soundtrack and legible English
IMDB lists the different runtimes for previously-released versions:
USA- 122'; Norway- 124'; and Sweden- 116'. An English-language
version currently released by Blue Underground runs 128 minutes.
The film was released as "Africa Blood and Guts" in the USA in
1970, at only 83 minutes (over 45 minutes removed in order to focus
exclusively on scenes of carnage); according to the text of the box
for the Blue Underground release, directors Jacopetti and Prosperi
both disowned this version. An R-rated version runs at 80
The documentary was written, directed, and edited jointly by
Prosperi and was narrated by Sergio Rossi
(not the fashion
designer with the same name). It was produced by Angelo Rizzoli
A soundtrack of the music used in the film was later released. The
composer was Riz Ortolani
1. Africa addio (03:24)
2. I mercenari (02:17)
3. Il massacro di Maidopei (04:22)
4. Cape Town (02:02)
5. Prima del diluvio (03:18)
6. Le ragazze dell'oceano (03:55)
7. Verso la libertà (02:40)
8. Paradiso degli animali (01:58)
9. Il nono giorno (04:38)
10. Goodbye Mister Turnball (02:07)
11. Lo zebrino volante (02:05)
12. La decimazione (05:26)
13. Finale Africa addio (02:15)
- Brian Kazinsky, Africa Addio: Colonialism absolved via 'Art
House Exploitation' (1987), Rolyholyover Press.
- ".Africa Addio,By Roger Ebert ,
April,1967. Retrieved on February 27, 2009.
- Brian Kazinsky, Africa Addio: Colonialism absolved via 'Art
House Exploitation (1987), Rolyholyover Press.
- Niels Seibert: Vergessene Proteste. Internationalismus und
Antirassismus 1964–1983. Berlin 2008.
- 'A Dog's World: The Mondo Cane Collection,
December 1, 2003
- Africa Addio review, Roger Ebert, April 25,
- Africa Blood and Guts, Gualtiero Jacopetti, et al.,
- Addio, Gualtiero Jacopetti, et al.,