Italy / France / 1969 / English and Italian with Spanish and English subtitles / 132

  • Director 

    Gillo Pontecorvo

  • Producer: 

    Alberto Grimaldi

  • Screenplay: 

    Franco Solinas, Giorgio Arlorio

  • Photography: 

    Giuseppe Ruzzolini, Marcello Gatti

  • Cast: 

    Marlon Brando, Evaristo Márquez, Renato Salvatori, Norman Hill, Dana Ghia, Valeria Ferran Wanani, Giampiero Albertini



In the shade of a tree in his native San Basilio de Palenque, Evaristo Márquez boasted of being the only Colombian to have spit at Marlon Brando in the face. It was in his part as José Dolores, the black man who, tired of foreign oppression, decided to take over the imaginary island of Queimada, coveted by international powers because of its extensive sugar plantations. All this happened in the early nineteenth century, at the height of the slave trade, when the mercenary William Walker (Marlon Brando) is hired by the English Crown to instigate a revolt against the Portuguese government and have it replaced with one more favorable to England’s trading interests. Trivial as it may seem, Evaristo Márquez played a symbolic role as the incarnation of the spirit of Palenque, the first town in America to gain independence. It was the year 1969 when the then provincial Cartagena was chosen as one of the locations for this super-production about colonists, empires and slaves. Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, this is one drama that is most definitely deserving of resurrection.



Gillo Pontecorvo

He worked as a film director for more than a decade before his film La battaglia di Algeri (The Battle of Algiers, 1966) won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. His other films include Kapò (1960), and Burn! (Queimada, 1969). He was also a screenwriter and composer of film scores.