Black Jesus (1968) - full transcript
A Congo rebel leader is captured and imprisoned with two white felons in this 81-minute feature containing religious symbolism and condemnation of colonial exploitation. Maurice Lalubi is thrown in jail with a soldier and an Italian thief. The trio endures torture at the hands of their captors, while a newly formed military regime decides the fate of the insurgent. The entire horror of the confrontation is seen through his eyes throughout Lalubi's interrogation and torture. His imminent demise could turn him into a martyr and spell trouble for the new government dictator in this sometimes violent film.
"SITTING ON HIS RIGHT"
In loving memory of...
the arrest of...
On his head will be
placed a price...
will be given to any person
who gives information...
that could lead to his arrest."
I will move to another place.
Yesterday, they looked for me in the east.
The day before, in the west,
which is what I wanted them to do.
That way they'll understand
that I have all of you behind me, which is the truth.
For even in the remotest village I know that you are with me.
When they tell me that a village has been destroyed...
and that my friends have been killed...
I have only one desire:
to close my eyes and not think.
But is it possible?
Is it right?
But your answer cannot be that of violence...
for two wrongs do not make it right...
and at other times destiny has chosen the meek...
to defeat the strong.
But in the end...
are they really strong?
Many of you have asked to go with me,
but your place is here.
Alone a man is easily lost in in a country as vast as ours...
and they have never seen my face,
Yesterday, a soldier pointed
a rifle at my chest...
but he only wanted to frighten me.
I bowed my head and continued on my way.
From now on, they will raid the villages and deport the men folk.
Therefore you must help one another.
Whoever saves food, let him divide it...
whoever has plenty, let him give to those
who have lost everything.
But since they cannot exterminate a whole people...
they will attempt to arm you one against the other.
This will be their most unspeakable crime.
But how will they be able to carry it out
without your complicity?
Without your betrayal?
I have been among you now for the past two years.
I think I know you one by one.
I do not believe they will succeed.
"On his head is placed a price.
50.000 Belgian francs."
The time has come to separate.
There are too many dangers.
I thank you for being here at the risk of your lives.
Now go back to your homes.
I shall go in hiding for a time.
They will look for me in every imaginable place...
therefore I shall no longer appear among you.
But have faith. This is not a farewell.
I shall call you again,
and that day we will not be afraid.
"On his head is placed a price.
100.000 Belgian francs."
Put down your gun, Colonel.
I am here to be help you.
- Are you alone?
Well, what do you want to tell me?
You are looking for Lalubi.
He is here.
Tonight he will sleep in the house
that I have marked.
- How far is it?
- 30 km.
And if it's an ambush?
What will happen then?
Send a lot of men.
Each one of yours is worth a hundred of theirs.
Who passed you this information?
- One who knows.
- You're sure of it?
I know them all.
They were my comrades.
You could be lying.
You'll have to take the risk, Commander.
I'll give you the 100.000 francs
when we've captured him.
I don't want the money.
Then why do you betray him?
Did he do you any wrong?
- I don't understand.
- You don't have to understand.
This a country of liars.
You lie even when you baptize your children.
But I want to see what you look like.
- Because if you've been lying to me...
I'll have you shot.
Come on! Move in then!
You there, to the left!
Look there. That's the one.
That must be the house.
I know you're there!
You'd better come out of that house!
Don't try to resist now,
it would be useless.
Come on out, Lalubi!
- Did you say something?
- That's funny, I thought I heard you protest.
- No. I didn't protest.
- But I didn't sell the army truck.
Your rebels robbed it from me.
How many times must I tell you that?
Please, don't hit me anymore.
All you have to do is spell it out.
It all happened like this...
they pointed machine-guns at me,
made me get off the truck.
- But you escaped.
- But I didn't!
You were in in Somalia before coming here,
On your feet!
- Gianluca Ferrandi, right?
What do you do for a living?
My buddy owns a restaurant.
- I worked for him.
- Did you get on with him?
Did you get on with him?
Well... I think so.
He accused you of theft.
And here are a few other little things against you.
More than enough for a couple of years in jail.
So don't waste my time
or it'll be worse for you.
Who did you sell the truck to?
I told you I didn't sell, believe me!
How many times must I tell you, Sergeant?
In the name of God.
In the name of my mother,
of the Virgin...
I doubt whether you believe in the Virgin.
Even if you keep on beating me till tomorrow...
I won't say anything different.
How many times must I tell you?
- The rebels robbed it.
Before you said it happened at Locambo.
No! No, it's not true!
I always said it was in Lumera!
Not true! No!
Sergeant, the Colonel wants you to report to him,
it's a very urgent matter. They've captured Lalubi!
Corporal, I'm reporting to the Colonel.
Come in here and take my place.
They've captured Lalubi!
- Close the gates!
- Double patrols!
They've captured Lalubi!
They've finally caught him!
Let's take him to the Commander!
- Where did you catch him?
- In a village, 30 km from here!
We've come back, Commander.
Get in, quick!
Get ready for the changing of the guards!
What the hell are you waiting for?
Get your arse out of here!
# Salute the dead!
In order to avoid risk and to save lives
we surrounded the village and destroyed it.
The information on the map was correct.
He offered no resistance.
What is your real name?
Lalubi means "Son of destiny."
I'm always called that.
Where were you born?
At Votundo on the eastern border.
I don't know exactly.
I don't remember my parents.
They said my father was a foreigner.
Do you want to sit?
So, you're invulnerable.
Your followers march singing against machine guns...
no bullets can ever kill them.
Did you invent all that?
Oh no, Commander.
It's just that simple people have much imagination.
I suppose so.
Let me go.
I feel that something serious is about to happen to me.
That depends on how you answer my questions.
The Government wants to know certain things from you.
Particularly, who are your main collaborators?
I don't even know who they are myself.
They are not collaborators.
Just people perhaps who heard me speak...
and repeated my ideas from village to village.
"We're not your monkeys any longer."
Remember that phrase?
Yes, of course.
- You wrote it to the King of Belgium.
- No, I didn't write to him personally.
Once I spoke at Yaound...
and I said it because I thought it
and I still think it.
But a newspaper wrote it.
How do you get the weapons
your followers use against our troops?
I don't know. I have never used a weapon.
I am not a man of war...
and I hate violence.
Your men have tortured to death
a dozen of my soldiers.
Two of them were impaled
and skinned alive...
at 300 meters from their camp.
They cut out the eyes and testicles
of a French recruit...
and stuffed them into his stomach.
It ought to be consoling for their mothers to find out know...
that this is the action of men who are peace loving.
They acted in your name.
I never told them to do that.
You can tell their mothers that their sons died here...
and not in Belgium.
It'll mean we should have stayed at home.
And what about civilization, Lalubi?
What happened in the countries
when white men abandoned them?
I'll tell you. They'll shed enough blood...
to overflow all the rivers of the Congo.
If Africa is still like that...
either you never taught us anything...
or it would have been better if you hadn't.
I'm not French,
nor am I Belgian.
- How do you know?
- I just thought that now.
And I thought certainly you have a wife and children.
Two sons who miss and admire you.
You're a wizard?
At this hour the sun is setting behind the rooftops of Amsterdam.
The water in the canals is sweet and fresh.
I'm so sorry for you that you can never return there...
I'm afraid not.
you've nothing to do with it.
Just a visionary who preaches peace and equality.
Alright, there have been others,
so I heard.
We won't do you any harm...
we'll have to exile you
to a very remote province...
in your own interest.
on condition that you sign this document.
What is it?
- A proclamation.
- Explain it to me.
No need to explain. I'm sure you can read.
I educated myself as best I could...
in a school where the color of my skin
was not well accepted.
You invite those
who fight in your name...
to lay down their arms and from this moment ...
any man who disobeys this
will be fighting against you.
In exchange, the Government
promises a general pardon.
But doesn't it reflect your views?
you are a plain liar.
Why won't you sign it?
Sergeant, what's going on down there?
- It's the one who stole the truck.
- Bring him here!
He only took a few punches.
They say he sold a truck to your men.
- Do you know him?
You guarantee he's not one of your collaborators?
- I've never seen him before.
Take him out and don't beat him any longer.
That guy? Lalubi?
Better tell the Colonel I had nothing to do with it.
- But I do believe you.
- I'm betting you believe it!
I had nothing to do with your men...
- And you must tell the Colonel that, understand!
- Take him out.
But who is he anyway,
that black shit!
I have nothing to do with him!
Nor with you,
nor with your bastards!
You son of a bitch and a ???
They won't beat him anymore.
- He didn't thank you much.
but he is suffering.
Do you realize how much you will have to suffer?
You must sign this document by tomorrow morning.
I give you one hour.
An hour's time to think it over...
and anything you could imagine...
listen to me, is nothing...
compared to what will happen to you.
So you'd better think it over.
Does it hurt a lot?
- Do you have a cigarette?
I'll see if...
you know, in your pocket
there's always a little tobacco.
"The days of the life of Abraham...
lasted 175 years.
Then he gave up the ghost...
and Abraham died in a good old age,
an old man and full of years...
and was gathered to his people."
- Want a smoke?
- No, thanks.
- How come they didn't beat you?
- They gave me one hour.
A lot of things can happen in one hour!
What did they do to you?
They beat me good.
I broke two teeth and
I can't hear with this ear.
And my guts ache.
Patience. I've been through a lot worse.
- Are you cold?
It seemed to me.
So, are you scared?
They will torture me?
Don't worry about it...
'cause with important guys
they never use their full strength.
The worst is the first punch...
but once they get going...
Brother, when it's my turn I can't wait...
- for it to begin.
- Has it often happened to you?
Listen, maybe I said a lot of bad things earlier
in the Commandant's office.
But I was all beat up bad.
Sure, I understand.
And you weren't offended?
No. I wasn't.
You're a strange guy.
You're afraid and you still manage to smile?
Why are you talking to me?
Go on. Tell me something.
I do not like silence.
But I don't have anything interesting to tell.
- What country are you from?
- I am Italian.
You know, the Pope, Rome...
- Why? You've been there?
- Oh, no.
Only from books. Until recently,
we couldn't even leave...
our villages, without permission.
- You don't say!
- For sure.
Have you studied?
As well as anybody.
I can't think how you managed.
Who knows! Lucky guy!
But of course if the outcome is
to rot in prison...
I only went to elementary school.
When I was 9 years old...
they put me to work
as a dish-washer in a bar.
Broke my back too
mopping the floor all day long...
for 50 lira and a glass of milk.
What do you do now?
Not a thing.
Just sitting in this dump same as you.
Whatever comes up. Anything useful.
What earns you a little money.
For example, once in Somalia...
I worked as a cook in a restaurant...
and I never had complaints.
- You've been to Somalia too?
- I've been all over the world.
and all over your stinking Africa...
interior and all.
I mean no offense.
Always as a cook?
I was a bit of everything, being a cook was nothing.
I've done so many things that...
if I started telling you the story of my life,
we'd be here till tomorrow!
Mechanic, carpenter, farm-hand
rough trade for homos (dancer),
I even served mass,
vendor of souvenirs
brothel (casino) manager
various swindles, a few other things...
Hey, what's the matter?
Just a moment.
- What is it?
- I thought I heard footsteps.
- But didn't they give you an hour?
- Yes, but perhaps it's already over.
Come on! There's plenty of time!
Don't think about it!
What do they want from you?
You can tell me.
They want me to sign a document.
What's the big deal? Sign it!
Once you get out, you can always deny everything.
That would be too easy.
- You know what I did in Paris?
I grabbed a tourist by the arm,
dragged him into a doorway...
and I'd whisper: Porn,
I'd spread open my coat with all those photos!
Wait, maybe I still have some in my pocket.
You're probably not interested.
It must be have been nice for you
to have visited so many countries.
So many countries.
I guess so.
So many countries...
But it would be better to say...
so many prisons in so many countries.
- You've been in prison a lot?
- In lots of prisons...
and on many charges,
true and false.
I was in and out. The only thing which changed
was the language of the guards.
And anytime anyone had to pay, they picked me.
At first, my only crime was
that I didn't have an education...
but then, I began to see I just wasn't intelligent.
No, you're wrong!
You're not stupid.
Well, it's also a question of bad luck I guess.
Guys like me don't get to meet saintly protectors...
walking by the roadside...
pick you up and like you and set you up for a lifetime.
But no one ever came to me and said:
"I'm gonna give you a nice honest job ...
which is not gonna be too difficult...
and for your work I'm gonna pay you plenty.
Man, you get discouraged!
First you make a mistake...
and then bye-bye.
Tell me, what kind of mistake?
I got a girl into trouble.
Her brother found out about it and came to the house.
He beat me unconscious.
He stuck a pistol under my chin and screamed:
"Either you'll marry her or I'll plug you."
Of course, I said "Yes" at once.
But the same night, I ran real fast.
Why didn't you marry her?
Because I didn't.
What's your name?
Have you anyone dear to you?
And you never had one in your life?
Let me think.
Perhaps everything stems from that.
But who knows. I might fare better...
when you leave from here and get important, right?
I shan't leave this place...
except to go to my death.
That's crazy talk!
You'll get out of here, you will!
And then you're gonna be boss in some place.
And maybe I'll come to visit you...
and you'll have me thrown out by a uniformed guard.
When you get important...
- Will you remember me?
- I promise you, Oreste...
if we get out, we will meet again...
and will be a lot happier.
And I'll be invited to a grand banquet in your honor
and I'll sit at your right hand.
It's your turn.
- Where are you taking the guy?
- Better keep out of it.
Hurry. Come with us.
What time is it?
Thank you for making
that hour pass so quickly.
Will you sign?
What beautiful hands you got, leader.
Keep an eye on this one here.
I keep an eye?
Who are you?
What happened to you?
Are you in here because of politics...
or common crime?
Leave me alone.
Help me, you!
Can't you see I can't take it alone!
Wait. I'll help you.
Calm down. Got it?
Everything will pass.
What do you want?
Half a measure of oil.
I'll pay for it, plenty.
This way up. Do you like it?
Show me some others.
No. I got another 10 of these here.
Bring me a whole measure of oil
and they are all yours.
How can I find oil at this hour?
It's a damn good deal.
Does it hurt much?
After 10 minutes you'll feel better.
My eyes can't see.
- It's all dark.
Of course! It's deep night!
No. My eyes can no longer see.
Why didn't you sign?
Here. It's linseed oil.
Give them to me!
Will you give me your shirt?
I'll pay you well for it.
I promise, once you get out of here,
you'll be able to buy a hundred shirts.
Come on. Will you help a guy?
Give it to me!
Give it to me!
Well, did he sign?
Is there a likelihood that he will?
- There never has been.
- Quite simple.
We'll have to transfer him to the capital,
with all the other prisoners...
if you want to make the thing plausible...
obviously during the trip...
Lalubi will try to escape.
He will never do such a thing.
Colonel, how old are you?
I feel very old,
It doesn't show.
Let's make no martyrs, please.
What nonsense, Colonel!
A black martyr!
Perhaps we'll make make him a saint one day,
but not now.
At the moment he's a very dangerous leader
and he must be killed!
Of course, there will be protests in Europe!
a few demonstrations, a march or two...
A couple of extra newspaper editions
Then silence will return...
and this whole affair will soon be forgotten.
That would surprised me.
The Lalubi has a great fascination for many men.
I said that Lalubi...
has a great fascination for many men.
I fail to see the point.
We're not white men.
Our people are much more straightforward.
They accept what they see.
They believe in a man because he IS there,
not because he has been there.
Believe me, Colonel,
eliminating a black leader is..
Then the same thing might happen to you, Your Excellency.
Of course! Why not?
Perhaps it's already written
on my line of destiny.
Would you like to read my palm?
I'd read mine, if I could.
Try it, Colonel.
Tell me what's written there.
See if it predicts a very long and well-paid career...
here in Africa, that is...
Or perhaps an imminent departure...
for some squalid melancholy little place...
for some forgotten country which...
- Where are you from?
- The Netherlands.
Really? I would have never thought so!
What does that mean?
Should I have guessed it?
An almost forgotten fatherland...
and one that most certainly...
has forgotten you!
What do you mean by that?
You just said you felt very tired.
Oh, no, no. Old.
You said older.
Well, it's the same.
I'm still in command of my full forces, Your Excellency...
and I wish to remain at my post.
Alright, but it's not a task for a common soldier...
and no officer will accept the responsibility.
That's no problem, Colonel.
We ourselves will supply the executioner...
if that will ease your conscience.
Hand me the flask.
How are your eyes now?
I'm talking to you.
Still hurt bad?
I can see better.
If they don't bring you to a medic,
I'll make one helluva scene!
Listen, don't stay too close to me.
What are you saying?
Why shouldn't I stay close to you, man?
We won't go to the capital.
We haven't enough water and fuel for the journey.
What does it matter?
If they'd wanted to get rid of us,
I'm sure they would have done so a long time ago...
without bringing us on this joy-ride.
Besides, all these fellows are pretty good guys...
- Ain't that right?
- That's right.
Get down, Lalubi.
- Where will you take him?
- For a check-up.
It is a mere formality,
only one minute. Get down!
- I'll come with him.
- No, you stay here.
I'll look for water.
I won't run away.
Now let's see if you're invulnerable.
Where are you going, idiot?
I saw nothing.
Yeah, but you heard.
You there, come here.
I said come here!