Few subjects remain quite as sensitive in American society as the topic of race. Some of our country’s darkest hours stem back to antiquated and barbaric perceptions of how people viewed skin color. Many filmmakers have become more and more willing to broach racial topics such as slavery in recent years to great effect, and the upcoming The Birth of a Nation seems like it may represent the pinnacle of those endeavors. A new trailer for the historical epic has just hit the web, and it’s as powerful as it is emotional. Check it out below to see for yourself.
Opening on images of the religious American south during the 19th century, the Birth of a Nation trailer follows real life figure Nat Turner as he navigates the oppressive world of slavery. Having learned to read, Nat’s masters have him preach the gospel to his fellow slaves. However, Nat eventually leaves his plantation on a tour to give sermons to various enslaved blacks around the American south, and he starts to see the full impact and injustice of slavery as an institution. Realizing the error of such a system, he begins preaching defiance to his fellow slaves, and eventually starts a rebellion that sees him standing up to his white oppressors.
Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of cinematic history will immediately pick up on the implications of Birth of a Nation’s title. Sharing a name with the 1915 D.W. Griffith KKK propaganda film of the same name, Birth of a Nation seeks to tell different type of slavery story – one which empowers its black characters and portrays their bold acts of defiance. Director Nate Parker has vocally spoken out about this creative choice, referring to it as reclamation of a title that had long been used to disparage the African-American community for racist purposes.
Although there remains quite a bit of time before Birth of a Nation experiences a wide release, the critical reception for the film has already been incredibly positive. At this year’s Sundance Film Festival in Utah, the film took home two awards, and a great deal of fanfare. It’s still quite early in 2016, but we think it has a distinct chance at becoming one of this year’s best contenders for an Oscar.
I don’t know about you, but I am definitely going to be one of the first people in line to see Birth of a Nation. It covers some heavy subject matter, but it bears an important message that continues to resonate with our modern, imperfect society. We will keep you up to date with any and all details related to the upcoming release of Birth of a Nation as they become available to us. The powerful historical epic will hit theaters later this year on October 7.