Sample Undergraduate Business Exam Notes

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Introduction

There is very little disagreement that Afro-American slavery comprises one of the biggest economic, demographic, and cultural developments in the history of the world.

The film “The Last Supper” is another entry into the dataset of this debate. It narrates the story of a pious owner of a plantation – the count – in Havana in the 1790s, during the period of Cuba’s colonization by the Spanish.

The plantation owner decides to recreate the Last Supper of the Bible using the twelve slaves working in his fields of sugarcane, thereby hoping to teach the slaves about Christianity.

The count invites twelve of his slaves to supper on Maundy Thursday in a re-enactment of the Last Supper, disguising himself as Christ. While the slaves have the supper, the count feeds them with religious rhetoric and, therefore, attempts to “enlighten” them.

He promises a day off for them and commits to free one of the slaves. However, when these promises are not held up the next day, the slaves conduct a rebellion. The slaves are then all hunted down and killed by the count, except one escaping.

Discussion Points

  • Several interpretations of Gutiérrez Alea’s film The Last Supper (La Ultima Cena)shed light on the ridiculous and foolish behaviour of the count. However, although as it seems eccentric, these actions and behavior are also attempts to stir the passions of the twelve slaves by proposing to them a moment of freedom.
  • People who held slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries frequently felt the necessity of such moments that it was necessary to sustain peace amongst their slaves. Therefore, when the count allows the twelve slaves to accompany him to his table, he is seen to be breaking the premises of a simple holiday.
  • A brief look at the film may lead the viewer to the belief that the freedom granted to the slaves might as well trigger the chances of a rebellion the following day. Certainly, the moment of freedom appears to be the foundation of the revolution in the film. However, instead of triggering hope amongst the slaves, the count primarily acts to snatch it away, as the viewers watch in his mock liberation of Pascual. Therefore, it is pertinent to say that freedom of the slaves is a non-existent ideal that does not exist away from his dinner table for the count.
  • There are two foundational elements to the carnival in Gutiérrez Alea’s film: the feigned authorised carnival organized by the count, and the moments at which the slaves’ internal forces practically reverse and dominate the authority.
  • Since the beginning of the film, the primary trigger for rebellion dwells within the slave, Sebastian. Sebastian attempts to escape even without the trigger of the sanctioned carnival dinner by the count, as his desire for freedom and getting rid of slavery is more powerful and deeper than any temporary reversal that may be seen in the film.
  • The slave desires to get freedom that renders meaning to the scene of the re-enactment of the Ultima Cena, thereby ultimately unveiling the deception of the count. The foundational scene is disclosed at the end of the Yoruba tale of Sebastian – “Truth and Lie”. At this most decisive moment, it may be well said that the “Truth Finds a Head”.
  • The brave and freedom loving slave raises the head of an animal to the level of his face to show the true intentions and the plans of the count as well as the simulated nature of the supper carnival. This symbolic unveiling reverses the hierarchy of the count’s plantation, thereby rendering Sebastian a place of power and authority.
  • In contrast to what the count preaches during his speech at the supper carnival, the film shows that Sebastian keeps his silence. Except for a moment in the film – the moment of physical rejection which, as the audience deduce, is surely more powerful than words – the freedom loving slave is shown to be passive during the sermon of the count. Rather, he does not even respond when the count transitions the act of spitting from degradation into a moment of self-praise and glorification.
  • The slave waits patiently to have his rebuttal to the proclamation of the reality until the count goes into a drunken sleep. Here, the film suggests the slave’s brave and freedom loving yet patient nature and the count’s incompetency to pay attention and take into account the other side of the argument.
  • The director criticises the slaveholders of Europe by showing that the slaveholders must be made paralysed before a refuting or disagreeing voice can be heard to make a contrary argument.

Conclusion

  • As depicted in the film The Last Supper, the struggle for freedom and liberty transcends the boundaries of the Afro American setting of slavery during the 18th and the 19th
  • As the audience might deduce, the revolutionary implications of the film do have a role to play at all the moments when the human relationships eventually transform into those of the dominance dependence nature.
  • The film The Last Supper produces a tableau vivant of all the inconsistencies of the intricate Hegelian lordship and slavery.
  • The film depicts that the master relies heavily on his slaves or “bond men” to recognize his authority and power.
  • As the Counts repeat his order to Sebastian to recognise the count’s authority, Sebastian is shown to spit in the count’s face. This spitting is the ultimate denying expression made by the slave to negate and deny the authority of his master.
  • It is also the beginning or the uprising of the self-consciousness of the slave. Therefore, as a consequence of the film, Hegel’s lesson or moral of the story will not soon be forgotten in Cuba.