“The Birth of a Nation”, which will be released in cinemas across Nigeria & Accra on November 18, 2016; is a different side to the slavery account, a powerful inspirational tribute to the struggle of African Americans. Unlike other slave-based stories where the main character is subdued and the victim of gruesome master(s), this movie shows how African Americans rebelled and fought against oppression.
The main character is Nat Turner, played by Nate Parker [Beyond the lights, Arbitrage], an enslaved African American ordained preacher who spearheaded a slave rebellion in Virginia in 1831.
In a twist of fate story, Nat Turner was encouraged to read by the wife of the plantation owner, who gave him a bible. By the time he reached adulthood, he had become a man of religion, capable of rousing eloquence.
Turner was rented out to preach at other plantations where, after years of relatively humane treatment, he became fully aware of the depravity and torture wreaked upon other slaves. Unable to live with himself for keeping quiet and pushed over the edge by the abuse he witnessed and experienced, including that of his own wife, Cherry (Aja Naomi King [How to get away with Murder]), he strategically begins to plot an uprising.
The movie has several high and action packed moments, balanced with enough mush to appeal to audiences.
Directed, Written and Produced by Nate Parker, “The Birth of a Nation” is especially imperative given recent racial clashes in the U.S and the subsequent Black Lives Matter movement. Parker’s command of the camera is unparalleled and he demonstrates a gift for eliciting textured performances from his co-stars, Aja Naomi King, Gabrielle Union, Armie Hammer, Colman Domingo, Penelope Ann Miller, Mark Boone Jr, Dwight Henry.
Turner believed that revolutionary violence would awaken others to the vile abuse of slaves and “The Birth of a Nation” seeks to ensure that he did not do so in vain.