Racist Perspectives in Gillo Pontecorvo's "Burn"

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Lana Cox

October 17, 2008

Studies in Modern Civilization

Professor Adejumobi

Racist Perspectives in the Film, "Burn!"

The movie "Burn!" directed by Gillo Pontecorvo is a film that captures the workings of a military guerilla group, as well as an insight into what we know as neo-colonialism. The movie presents the struggle between blacks and whites in an island colony, known as Queimada. The island of Queimada is originally owned by Portugal, until a man named Sir William Walker is sent to the island as an agent provocateur for Great Britain, to organize a slave uprising led by a slave names Jose Dolores This revolt serves to overthrow the Portuguese rule over the island and turn it into a British colony. The struggle for each group that wishes to be in power shows a battle between races-the white landowners, and the oppressed, black slaves. Several racial perspectives such as moralist, structuralist, and realist views have been used to explain the conditions of Africans during slavery.

The movie "Burn!" shows tendencies towards each one of the racial perspectives, but tends to lean more towards a realist perspective.

Moralists tend to believe that prejudice is the result of ignorance and moral lapse. They believe that racism can eventually be treated by enlightenment and the elevation of the black race. Moralists also are liberal in thinking, and are political optimists. One could argue that Sir William Walker could be considered a moralist because he had faith in the black population of Queimada because he elevated a Jose Dolores, a black man into a power position. He chose Dolores as a leader and had faith that he could lead a military uprising on the island. Although Sir William Walker shows these good traits, Walker was also not a...