Sunday, September 29, 2019

Movie: The Birth of A Nation Essay

Tim Dirk’s review of The Birth of a Nation[1] is one of the most detailed and comprehensive reviews that has encompassed almost all the aspects of this masterpiece. This movie was made in 1915 by the producer/director D. W. Griffith. The story moves in the background of civil war affected America and are manifested in the form of lives of two families Stonemans and the Camerons. The pathos and miseries afflicted by the war are shown with close connection to key historical proceedings i.e. the growth and expansion of Civil War and the origin of the Ku Klux Klan.This film is also manifest   epitomize the historical justification for racial segregation. The movie tried to disperse the notions that Reconstruction was a disaster and African American can never be assimilated into white society. It further propagates the ideas that Ku Klux Klan emerged to restore the dominancy of whites in South that was at stake by uncontainable blacks. The film’s considerate depiction of whites lynching activities and emergence of Ku Klux Klan as messiah affirms the racial discriminations and notion of blaming the blacks for all evils in American society at that time. The Birth of a Nation further explores the two other themes related to post war era i.e. interracial sex and marriage, and the empowerment of blacks. Tim Dirk has analyzed all basic elements of the movie i.e. title, story, plot, narration, characterization, dialogue, motifs etc. Firstly, he takes into account the artistic and thematic aspects of the movies and then provides a brief synopsis of the story and at the end evaluates its technical merits. I agree with his overall verdict about the movies as â€Å"A controversial, explicitly racist, but landmark American film masterpiece† because despite its anti-black, it has introduced certain technical and artistic innovation for the first time in American cinema. Tom Dirk says that these innovations includes usage or ornamented title cards, the close-ups, the use of natural outdoors backgrounds, the wide-angle shot and panoramic long shorts. Director Griffith has further implied the amazing technique of parallels actions in a single sequence for example Gus’ endeavor to rape Flora and Ku Klux Klan salvage of Elsie and Margaret. He picturized the battle scenes in a way that hundreds of extras appeared as thousands. Dirk further pays homage to the work of Billy Bitzer, the cameraman of the movie who introduced the night cinematography with the help of Magnesium flares and the technical effects by camera iris i.e. expansion and contraction of camera’s circular masks. (Dirk, 2006) While analyzing the theme of the movie, he has rightly pointed out that Birth of A Nation is definitely one of the most significant contributions in nurturing cinema’s role as an art form. I concur with his stance The Birth of a Nation portrays some of the most chaotic and turbulent conflicts of American History. Dirk points out that the post civil-war period is picturised with colors of racial discrimination and African American are depicted as the cause of all socio-political and economic problems of the Reconstruction era. Dirk further takes into accounts set of components that must be taken into consideration while making a movie analysis. This set is known as MISE-EN-SCENE and includes Setting and sets, Acting style, costumes and lighting and asserts that in Birth of A Nation, ideological or symbolic information is conveyed through these particular setting. Overall, the review contains all the mandatory information about the story and provides an in-depth analysis of necessary paraphernalia of the movie. But it ignores the characterization by the author and its presentation by the actors and actresses. References Dirk, Tim. The Birth of A Nation (1915) Website: [1] Initially it was released and premiered with the title The Clansman in January, 1915 in California but later on the title was changed to Birth of A Nation.

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