The Birth of a Nation - A Controversy Generation Machine

The Birth of a Nation - A Controversy Generation Machine

The Birth of a Nation accomplishes its goal of getting people to talk about it.

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I can't say I appreciate how the movie tried to rework Turner's motivations from "probably delusional religious fanatic guided by visions" to "crusader out to avenge family". No matter what you may think of Turner, being true to his actual motivations is important.

Creative license only goes so far, you want to make him a family man even though there's no evidence of that, that can be acceptable, but don't purposefully mislead people about why he did what he did. This isn't the right time period or subject to be taking the "300" route to history, if that approach is ever justifiable.

hentropy:
I can't say I appreciate how the movie tried to rework Turner's motivations from "probably delusional religious fanatic guided by visions" to "crusader out to avenge family". No matter what you may think of Turner, being true to his actual motivations is important.

Creative license only goes so far, you want to make him a family man even though there's no evidence of that, that can be acceptable, but don't purposefully mislead people about why he did what he did. This isn't the right time period or subject to be taking the "300" route to history, if that approach is ever justifiable.

Yeah, that seemed like a weird choice. I guess "Slavery is bad and Turner really wanted to kill himself some white people over it" is too ambiguous? Maybe they were worried Turner might seem like kind of a bad guy if he didn't have a personal, noble reason for doing what he did? And let's be real, as much as I can understand why Turner did what he did, his revolt was still a violent, ugly thing. Turner killed some legitimately bad people, sure, but also their wives, and children, and anyone else he happened to find along the way. And then when the revolt was inevitably put down, something like 200 (probably more) slaves were killed in retaliation who weren't even involved, and then even harsher slave laws were passed to clamp down on the rest.

It's an interesting story, and one that is certainly worth telling, but yeah... at best the Turner revolt was a doomed, morally dubious venture that wound up being hugely counterproductive. I totally understand why it happened, and I really can't blame him or the people involved, but yeah. That's the thing about history, especially really ugly periods of history like slavery in the US. The morals of it tend to get really murky, really fast, and even the "good guys" (understandably angry slaves) aren't completely in the clear here (the women and children killing, and the overall short-sightedness of the revolt).

Basically, it's not the kind of story you want to go and 300-ize. Honestly even 300 wasn't the kind of story that should have been 300-ized. The Persian invasion of ancient Greece, and the battle of Thermopylae were way more complicated, and the Spartans, at the end of the day, were pretty terrible people by most accounts. They also weren't the *only* ones there, and the Persians weren't literal monsters with swords for hands, lol.

I never looked into it, but I was always like "Wait...isnt that a KKK title?...but its about Black People?" I guess its supposed to be a fuck you to the KKK, which I am fine with, and knowing that find it funny actually.

Edit: Looking into Nat Turner, once again, it comes to my inability to condone killing children.

rcs619:

hentropy:
I can't say I appreciate how the movie tried to rework Turner's motivations from "probably delusional religious fanatic guided by visions" to "crusader out to avenge family". No matter what you may think of Turner, being true to his actual motivations is important.

Creative license only goes so far, you want to make him a family man even though there's no evidence of that, that can be acceptable, but don't purposefully mislead people about why he did what he did. This isn't the right time period or subject to be taking the "300" route to history, if that approach is ever justifiable.

Yeah, that seemed like a weird choice. I guess "Slavery is bad and Turner really wanted to kill himself some white people over it" is too ambiguous? Maybe they were worried Turner might seem like kind of a bad guy if he didn't have a personal, noble reason for doing what he did? And let's be real, as much as I can understand why Turner did what he did, his revolt was still a violent, ugly thing. Turner killed some legitimately bad people, sure, but also their wives, and children, and anyone else he happened to find along the way. And then when the revolt was inevitably put down, something like 200 (probably more) slaves were killed in retaliation who weren't even involved, and then even harsher slave laws were passed to clamp down on the rest.

It's an interesting story, and one that is certainly worth telling, but yeah... at best the Turner revolt was a doomed, morally dubious venture that wound up being hugely counterproductive. I totally understand why it happened, and I really can't blame him or the people involved, but yeah. That's the thing about history, especially really ugly periods of history like slavery in the US. The morals of it tend to get really murky, really fast, and even the "good guys" (understandably angry slaves) aren't completely in the clear here (the women and children killing, and the overall short-sightedness of the revolt).

Basically, it's not the kind of story you want to go and 300-ize. Honestly even 300 wasn't the kind of story that should have been 300-ized. The Persian invasion of ancient Greece, and the battle of Thermopylae were way more complicated, and the Spartans, at the end of the day, were pretty terrible people by most accounts. They also weren't the *only* ones there, and the Persians weren't literal monsters with swords for hands, lol.

Yep, more obviously-pandering award bait. As for the real rebellion, the real kicker was that there was talk of slowly abolishing slavery around the time, but the rebellion and its backlash effectively killed any progress towards that until the Civil War.

Darth_Payn:

Yep, more obviously-pandering award bait. As for the real rebellion, the real kicker was that there was talk of slowly abolishing slavery around the time, but the rebellion and its backlash effectively killed any progress towards that until the Civil War.

It is the time of year for oscar-bait to come out, I suppose.

But yeah, the Turner rebellion was definitely counter-productive. It actually got some people previously against slavery in the south or on the fence to flip in favor of slavery. Turns out that sometimes terrorism just hardens the other side against you (and even Nat Turner himself said part of the goal was to sow "terror and alarm" among southern whites). I don't necessarily blame the people involved for doing what they did (I have no idea what I'd do if I had to live in that kind of situation), but in historical hindsight it was a pretty big screw-up.

I guess, to be completely fair, Turner did pass over some white homes during his revolt. Mostly poor whites. So, I guess there's that? Still doesn't quite make up for killing women and children with bludgeons and hatchets though.

Just seems kind of weird that the people who got mad at Selma being snubbed at the major awards (which is a shame, since it was legitimately good, and showed a side of Martin Luther King that sometimes gets glossed over) go and try to uplift a movie about Nat Turner of all people, and an exaggerated The Patriot/Braveheart/300 style version of is story at that.

I will start by saying I have not seen this film...

Having read of an added rape scene I am just disappointed. Revolutions/uprisings are generally fueled by the obsessive, the zealot, the crazy and the delusional.

In some ways it has too. The chances of success are so small and the price of failure, even the price of success, so high that most rational people don't have it in them to lead an uprising.

To add a fictional rape to get the audience on board is cheap and lazy. This is serious subject matter, not fucking Deathwish 2.

bjj hero:
I will start by saying I have not seen this film...

Having read of an added rape scene I am just disappointed. Revolutions/uprisings are generally fueled by the obsessive, the zealot, the crazy and the delusional.

In some ways it has too. The chances of success are so small and the price of failure, even the price of success, so high that most rational people don't have it in them to lead an uprising.

To add a fictional rape to get the audience on board is cheap and lazy. This is serious subject matter, not fucking Deathwish 2.

The actual scene was cut; its implications are not. I don't know if that makes a difference, but as I mentioned in the review, the act itself isn't seen.

Slavery is bad? Bold message for a film cotton, lets see if it pays off

Parker's film is comparatively huge and he feels stretched thin. He didn't have to do it all and probably should have given some of those roles to someone else - especially given how this is his feature-length directorial and screenwriting debut. (He's also very rarely been a leading actor.)

Not to mention, there's kind of a problem with not enough black people who aren't named Will Smith being involved in the film industry - something I'd think Parker would agree with - and by taking all the important jobs himself, he's kind of doing the opposite of helping.

Saelune:
I never looked into it, but I was always like "Wait...isnt that a KKK title?...but its about Black People?" I guess its supposed to be a fuck you to the KKK, which I am fine with, and knowing that find it funny actually.

Edit: Looking into Nat Turner, once again, it comes to my inability to condone killing children.

Yeah I'm realizing now that when my dad asked me the other day if I knew anything about The Birth of a Nation and I explained to him how it was a racist cinematic masterpiece that changed the way stories in movies were told forever and is taught in film schools that he was actually talking about this probably.

sounds like this movie will be as counter productive as the actual rebelion

iblis666:
sounds like this movie will be as counter productive as the actual rebelion

Unless we get an extra dozen of pro-racist movies the next year in response, that's kinda of an overstatement.

Darth_Payn:
[quote="rcs619" post="6.943479.23805912"]
Yep, more obviously-pandering award bait. As for the real rebellion, the real kicker was that there was talk of slowly abolishing slavery around the time, but the rebellion and its backlash effectively killed any progress towards that until the Civil War.

Eh, the North basically had the idea the South would eventually wake up and give up slavery but they doubled down on it constantly so Turner's rebellion just made it clear the South would NEVER change save by force. So, in a way, the rebellion did have an effect for the antislavery cause.

Also, for glorifying Turner, I should point out people make shit tons of movies about Columbus and Washington. Both murdered a shit ton of kids.

Charles Phipps:

Also, for glorifying Turner, I should point out people make shit tons of movies about Columbus and Washington. Both murdered a shit ton of kids.

Oh, come on. Who hasn't done that?

OT: I guess that's that, then. I'd like to see a John Brown Bleeding Kansas movie, but I guess a pre-Civil War Civil War movie is just too much to ask for.

 

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