By Jacob Knight Aug. In fact, the first shot we see isn't even composed by director Spike Lee.
Meh The Birth of a Nation conveys its disinterest in pulling punches with its very title. In repurposing the name of D. Griffith's blockbuster ode to white supremacy, the new Birth trades the rise of the Ku Klux Klan for Nat Turner's bloody slave revolt.
Writer-director Nate Parker backs up this bold provocation with a measured but devastating movie that haunts the imagination and conscience.
But Birth is also, in its own unblinking way, a deeply spiritual film that takes the malleability of spirituality as its primary theme. Turner, born a Georgia slave, learns to read as a child.
The only book he's permitted to peruse is the Bible, and soon the sermons of the Negro preacher gain a measure of local fame. As Turner becomes an adult, played by Parker, his master Highland Park's Armie Hammer realizes there's money to be made off a slave preacher who can spread the good word at other plantations - as long as the good word concerns docility and faithful service.
The more Turner sees and feels the brunt of the Peculiar Institution, including a brutal whipping scene rife with crucifixion symbolism, the more inclined he becomes to absorb other Biblical themes.
The stuff masters would prefer their slaves didn't think about, let alone practice. The Birth of a Nation cuts deep and leaves a mark, but it seems almost immoral to paint a portrait of slavery that doesn't. The Birth of a Nation is a remarkably assured directorial debut.
Parker mixes abstract imagery, including an ear of corn shot through with blood, with scenes that increasingly spotlight the horrors of slavery as the story progresses. Turner's story arc is deeply disturbing but entirely believable.
Among the film's most pertinent ideas: Humans can use religious texts to justify almost any form of behavior, from enslavement to rebellion, from kindness and mercy to abject cruelty.
The climax is a punch in the gut. But by the time it all goes down, we've seen enough atrocity to crystallize the motives for slave rebellion. Parker's role in a rape case and trial, in which he was acquitted, has been well chronicled.
You can be troubled by the behavior of the artist and still be moved by the art. Birth, along with such recent novels as The Underground Railroad and Homegoing and TV projects including Underground and the revamped Roots, brings the realities of slavery into sharp focus for a new generation.
It might make you feel angry. It might make you feel sad.
But there's little doubt it will make you feel. Rated R disturbing violent content and brief nudity.Oct 07, · Birth Of A Nation evokes both the African heritage that the slave trade did so much to erase and the horrors of the internal slave trade.
The movie dwells especially on the sadism that slavery.
Free business-day shipping within the U.S. when you order $25 of eligible items sold or fulfilled by Amazon. The Stoneman family finds its friendship with the Camerons affected by the Civil War, both fighting in opposite armies. The development of the war in their lives plays through to Lincoln's assassination and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan. The Birth of a Nation isn’t as compelling a glimpse into the horrors of slavery as 12 Years a Slave. Nor is it as epic as previous films about uprisings, such as Braveheart or Spartacus. Though.
Oct 07, · Turner is depicted as having the same motivation that drove the Klansmen in “The Birth of a Nation”: protecting women’s virtue. Obviously, sexual exploitation was a huge motivating factor in this and other slave rebellions, as well as in peaceful forms of anti-slavery activism.2/5.
Film Review: ‘The Birth of a Nation’ The movie can be forgiven as well. “The Birth of a Nation” exists to provoke a serious debate about the necessity and limitations of empathy, the. The Birth of a Nation used color tinting for dramatic effect in some sequences. Why the smug critics of D.
W. Grffith’s epic are doomed to repeat its faults.
Outside circumstances aside, the movie itself tells the story of Nat Turner’s slave rebellion in Virginia. As a boy, Nat is taught how to read (exceedingly rare for slaves at the time) so that he can learn and preach the Bible.
Fulton, A. R., "Editing in The Birth of a Nation," in Motion Pictures: The Development of an Art from Silent Pictures to the Age of Television, Norman, Oklahoma, Cripps, Thomas R., "The Reaction of the Negro to the Motion Picture, The Birth of a Nation," in The Historian, May