The first feature-length motion picture is a movie that is extremely flawed and would probably have gone into obscurity and been forgotten had it not been it so film historic important. The movie start pretty good as an American Civil War movie with good battle sequences for it's time, but ends up being too long and controversial Ku Klux Klan scenes doesn't sit well with modern viewers today so have an open mind.
La séparation de deux familles amies causée par la Guerre de Sécession. Après la Reddition, le fils de la tribu sudiste, Ben, fonde le Ku Klux Klan. Il sauvera les Cameron, vivant au Nord, des menaces de Lynch, un ancien de leurs obligés ..... Un film fondateur ! www.cinefiches.com
3 hours of pure hatred only take you so far, yet "The very essence of his realism is open frames, complex stagings, and multiple planes of action, all of which suggest far more than Griffith’s descriptive title cards, and his stunted politics, would themselves allow".
It really is a pioneering work in terms of cinematic language and I was amazed at how I was never bored throughout its 3-plus hours. But even as a masterpiece it remains morally indefensible. Even if the Dunning School represented the majority view of Reconstruction of the time, the film's release was nevertheless still highly controversial and the second part's obnoxious propaganda is sickeningly blatant.
Essential for understanding US culture. It's not about the civil war but the reconstruction and its failures. Centrally fear about the vote, with a direct line to the Florida recounts a century later. Here the 'enfranchisement of the negroes' leads to some anti-white dystopia, then at the end the KKK literally disenfranchise them again and it ends with a super-idealised White Utopia presided over by Jesus. Bizarre.
The movie in short: when KKK comes to the rescue/is the rescue ... Well, that's a phrase I never expected to write. From technical pov, brilliant, using different camera shots, minimal (let alone, special) effects to tell a 3 hrs long silent story never boring. Ideologically, best example of propaganda: keep facts that prove your point - why an intolerant racist movement is needed & justified - & discard all others.
Ok , I think to approach such a film -you need to have an open mind without any leaning to either side or prejudices. I did end up shaking my head at times ( I am black myself but I watched it till the end. When I think about the role of the KKK perhaps to some who lost so much in the South - they could be seen as heroes .
Could there be a harder film to rate? The political and social implications of this film remind not only of a different time in American history, but of the human capacity to justify hatred, all while pioneering historically significant film techniques. Still, Birth Of A Nation ought to be watched by everyone, as a reminder of the power of film to communicate and convince audiences even of the ethically monstrous.