the birth of a nation
dir. d.w. griffith
Again, this one’s a doozy, so here’s my original post!
from November 8, 2015:
equally incredible and disgusting. acted very well; the scenes dealing with sadness and loss (particularly those featuring the mother) were genuinely beautiful (the scene of the Cameron family waiting just after the boys leave for war in particular.) also had some great, great shots (the pink hue of the scene with the bonfire.) general narrative development was great (the scene in which elsie and ben finally meet was beautiful), and despite its absurd length, i rarely felt bored (though this may be attributed also the fact that i took six and a half hours to watch it.)
“Though we had never met, I have carried you about with me for a long, long time.”
the film is a phenomenal jump in the art of cinema. though many years spanned from great train robbery and this, there is an amazing amount of development in terms of film techniques (parallel editing what????) and overall narrative complexity.
that being said, the profound racism is a big concern, though this too creates a bigger image of the power of film. part 1 was calm, and then part 2 hits, and it feels like a different movie. did people actually buy into this? how did it lead to so many horrible acts?
“War, the breeder of hate.”
incredible? yes. sad? yes. it was the first film to be screened at the white house. it launched a series of horrific crimes. it essentially created the grounds for a second coming of the klan. any film so impactful on cinematic (and american) history is worth studying, even in spite of (and perhaps even more so because of) its subject.
Available to watch in high definition via YouTube.