by Quenten Crider
With several new movies on the horizon, 2016 looks to be in great shape to finish off the year strong in the box office. One of those movies set to release on Oct. 7, “The Birth of a Nation,” is already receiving mixed reviews, backlash and overall controversy. The level of attention and intrigue make it one of the more anticipated movies of 2016.
“The Birth of a Nation,” which was co-written, co-produced and directed by Nate Parker in his directorial debut, is a drama film based on the story of Nat Turner, the slave who led a slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia in 1831. Depicted in the South prior to the Civil War, the story follows Nat Turner, played by Nate Parker, as a literate slave and preacher whose owner is having financial issues and accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to calm and bring peace to disorderly slaves. As he witnesses countless acts of violence against his peers, while also suffering himself, Nat decides to orchestrate an uprising in hopes of leading his people to freedom.
In 1915, D.W. Griffith released the original, “The Birth of a Nation”, which documented the birth of the Ku Klux Klan, Civil War and the reconstruction of America. Griffith’s innovative techniques and storytelling made “The Birth of a Nation” extremely popular at the time and is now regarded as one of the landmarks of film history; however, it was heavily characterized by many as having a very racist storyline.
With Nate Parker’s modern, redefined version soon to be in theaters, he is sure to be hoping for the same success as Griffith minus the negative criticism. Calendars should be marked for Oct. 7 to view and form an opinion on a movie that, in one way or another, affects us all.