Independent filmmaker Oscar Micheaux’s searing portrayal of racism in America is an intense experience and an essential one for any student of film history. Micheaux pulls no punches and covers everything from drawing room racism to lynchings.
Fair warning, though: this is a pretty gut-wrenching picture and you should only see it if you are in a position to deal with it emotionally. Micheaux’s raw style– born out of necessity due to being cut off from the financial resources independent white filmmakers enjoyed– actually adds to the picture’s punch.
How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.Despite the heroine’s hardships, the film ends on a hopeful note with her finding love and possible happiness.
I usually rate these reviews with a dessert comparison but that seems a bit flippant for a film like this, so I have opted to to skip that step. This is a heaping dose of righteous fury and hard facts. Read my full-length review here.
Availability: Released on DVD and Bluray as part of the Pioneers of African American Cinema box set. The score is by Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky) and I also recommend his remix of The Birth of a Nation entitled Rebirth of a Nation, which was released as a separate disc.
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