Today, December 9th, Fox Searchlight Pictures releases The Birth of Nation in UK cinemas.
I have to say this is one of the harder films I’ve watched. I’m almost embarrassed about how much it made me cry, but not entirely embarrassed because it wasn’t a reflection of emotional instability, but because it was so monumental in the way it portrayed the heartbreak in our history, slavery. It illuminated the reality of race relations, romance and religion in the most cheerful but chilling way that was almost a little too much for me on a Monday afternoon.
Ahead of the UK wide release today, I watched the pre-release last Monday at Twentieth Century Fox Studios over in Soho and caught up with a few others in the audience about their thoughts overall. As mentioned in my clip below, I would have loved to have a Q&A session afterwards to get a more comprehensive read on what others thought. Nevertheless, I did managed to speak to two others in the audience.
I’m interested in how everyone would take this film, so do let me know (when you see it) what you think in the comments section below. Here’s a few comments I’ve received so far…
“It was uncomfortable to watch at times, but I had to confront it and come to the reality that this is what happened to people. As an African – and not American, I never identified with slavery in that way, but this film wasn’t just about African Americans, it’s about us all” Darlene
“We think about the physical act of slavery but what about the mental act? The film made me think about all forms of bondage, financial and economic too” Ade
“I felt a way about knowing Nate Parker the protagonist and producer was involved in a rape allegation, or case, as rape is a factor to the story. But it was a great film and I was able to separate the art from the artist,You can’t deny the power of the film” Patricia
Set against the American South thirty years prior to the outbreak of the Civil War and based on a true story, THE BIRTH OF A NATION follows Nat Turner (Nate Parker), a literate slave and preacher whose financially strained owner Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer) accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities – against himself, his wife Cherry (Aja Naomi King) and fellow slaves – Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom.