Tuesday, November 22, 2011

BURN! (1969)

‘It is better to know where to go and not know how than it is to know how to go and not know where.’

‘If a man gives you freedom, it is not freedom. Freedom is something you, you alone must undertake.’

Starring Marlon Brando in one of his most underrated and remarkable role, Italian director Pontecorvo’s this film is a strong statement than just a cinema of pleasure. Though the film is part fictitious, it has enough sparks of political and historical text that probes questions about western imperialism and their selfish exploitation of the natives. America, Australia or Mexico white men exploited the natives and their lands while filling their countries’ coffers with gold and money. In the name of progress the power has been curbing and rewriting not only history but the progress and civilization too as per their suitable tastes for the time immemorial. The man who made a masterpiece like ‘The Battle of Algiers’ documented and narrated the film from start to end without being judgmental to any race and yet finely managed to balance the weight to both struggling black revolutionaries and the ambitious and powerful white colonizers.   

The film opens in a remote Caribbean island called Queimada, ruled, burnt and exploited for three centuries by Portuguese colonizers. Here comes a provocative suave diplomatic English man named William Walker with British military plan and campaign to spread revolution solely motivated by financial and political gain. Most of the black and mulatto slaves are serving in sugar plantations are severely exploited under Portuguese colonizers. Walker pushed a courageous black rebel named Jose Dolores into a leader and made him General after overthrowing the authority. But soon the white men show their real skins. Ten years passed and now Walker returns to island with a new mission, this time as a facilitator between major sugar company and established Government and the only eyesore is rebellion Jose. The power made revolutionaries as instrument for their own means and annihilate them when he no longer serves them; the scapegoat and martyr here is Jose Dolores.     

There’s real American freebooter man named William Walker, who made private unauthorized expeditions to control the Latin American colonies and become Nicaraguan president in mid 19th century and soon executed by American military. However the director here took many liberty in portraying historical facts and characterization here and made him a British middleman wanted to end foreign domination and establish free trade in Portuguese colony.

The film ends so strikingly. Near to end, selfish and guilt ridden white man fails and frustrates to understand why the rebel is deliberately love to die even though he provides him freedom and than next to the death of him we see the rebel begets another rebel! A black slave begging for the white man’s bag and than stabs him   as he's going to join the ship to England.

Aah...What else i can say about Marlon Brando. His effortless method act on screen brought to screen a suave white diplomat in all flesh and blood. This is one more shining example of his best performed roles without a doubt.

Ratings- 8.5/10 

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