Last night I attended the Vancouver International Film Festival’s (VIFF) premiere of “The Birth of a Nation.”
Nate Parker, the films handsome lead actor who is also responsible for writing, producing and directing the cinematic drama about slave rebellion in the deep south was in attendance. He started off the evening by introducing the movie and saying that getting the script off the ground took several years and several dollars to complete but he’s very proud of the final outcome. As so he should be. This is an important historical film about a man who virtually got lost in the shuffle, his story being told for the very first time. It is a disturbing masterpiece!
The movie was filmed in Savannah, Georgia where a lot of the Atlantic slave trade originated. I visited a friend living in Savannah and was charmed by the beauty of the city but not by stories about the past. The movie struck a chord.
In short, Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher orchestrates an uprising as he witnesses countless cruelties against himself and his fellow slaves. This strong willed man decides enough is enough when he resolves to help lead his people to freedom.
Many of the scenes are not easy to witness and as a result there were not many dry eyes in the audience. Damn, I didn’t bring any tissues!
When I first heard about the subject matter I was not too interested especially after having seen twelve years a slave, the colour purple and many other slave related films. While the film is not without the expected appalling brutality and violence, this true story is different from the others. It is well worth seeing. And it makes you question how far we’ve really come in light of current issues evidenced with many recent black shootings. So maybe it has to be told time and time again….to get the point across…people are people and should be treated equally.
The film will be theatrically released in the United States on October 7, 2016 by Fox Searchlight Pictures.