The Birth of a Nation” reminds us how depictions of slavery reflect how we think about race.
When the first trailer for Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation” dropped in June, it felt like a lightning rod moment for the depiction of slavery on the big screen. Here was a film written, directed, produced by and starring a black filmmaker. Here was a film not only about the horrors and injustices of slavery, but also the fight against it, represented by Nat Turner’s infamous slave revolt in 1831. Turner’s story had never been told on screen, and certainly never like this ― from the perspective of Turner, fully sympathetic to his motives and his violent actions.
Then the controversy began.