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The Birth of a Nation

From the birth Nat brings to the body the signs that, according to African culture, serve to designate a garment. It is 1909, and Nat lives in a cotton plantation in Virginia with her mother and grandmother after her father has been forced to flee for having acted a rebellion against a slave merchant. The owner of the plantation intuits in the child a strong intelligence and decides to teach them to read using the Bible as a text. Nat will become a preacher for the slave slave community, and white slave men will be entrusted with the task of preaching obedience to the black subpages, keeping their every possible insubordination helpless.
The Birth of a Nation is provocative since the title, the same as the milestone of silent cinema directed by D.W. Griffith, who gave ample space to Ku Klux Klan’s performance as controllers of a social order endangered by the integration of blacks in America. The “nation”, however, refers to the title of direct, written, produced and interpreted by African-American Nate Parker nearly a hundred years after Griffith’s, but that is the black community that acquires self-awareness and recognizes itself as a community policy. The first step in building that “nation,” according to Parker, is precisely the decision of the first rebel slave, Nat Turner, to lead a bloody rebellion against the slavemen oppressing him and his black brothers and sisters.
The Birth of a Nation is an ambitious work, and Parker, in his first directorship, is surprised by the absolute courage to face wide-ranging and topical issues, beginning with the opportunistic use of religious texts, interpretable in the most divergent ways And used to support the most diverse causes, more or less noble. The incendiary power of sacred writings, as well as their potential use to maintain social order (or inequality); The ability of religions to “justify or condemn anything”; And Nat’s way of perpetuating submission to incite the uprising using the word of God as an invitation to action is of utmost importance in this era of fundamentalism.
But the portrait of whites as invariably corrupt, sadistic and violent (with the sole exception of Nat’s master, Sam, who is “only” weak and drunk), creates an escalation of rage and rancor that contains a considerable social danger In an already razed polarized climate. Parker is particularly concerned with the demoralizing power of slavery that has “broken men” by making them as imbels as priv (s) of their male dignity. And if this reflection is historically and ethically correct, its exasperated use in a popular popular film requires an author’s taking of responsibility, which is likely to foster a just-presentist climate that is already present in present American society.
The comparison stone is evidently a 12-year-old slave, but Parker has no symbolic abstraction capacity of Steve McQueen and the dialogues, acting, and the construction of the scenes of The Nation are not the author’s dexterity of the British director. There is certainly a vital energy and a compressed anger behind every image of The Birth of a Nation, and the result is a powerful film for the subject it deals and for the direct manner in which it is told but not cinematic innovative or memorable .
All the second part of the film seems to adhere to the western messinscene, including the finale to The Wild Pile or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and the incessant escalation of violence and harassment prepares the ground for final rebellion not so much in terms of trust Historical as to the effectiveness of cinema. A rewarding choice from popular point of view (so much so that The Birth of a Nation won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, in addition to the Grand Prize of the jury), less than that of the historical or artistic value.



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