For those of you who, like me, still have a bit of a visceral reaction to the words The Birth of a Nation, perhaps you should check out this trailer for the forthcoming film that came out of this past year’s Sundance with a record-breaking $17.5 million deal. Intended to be a subversion of D.W. Griffith’s white supremacist film of the same name that triggered the birth of the “second era” of the Ku Klux Klan, this Birth of a Nation centers on the story of Nat Turner, a literate slave in the pre-Civil War South, whose skills as a preacher are put to use controlling and quelling his fellow people. But after finding out more about the various horrifying things done to them, he decides to use his skills to organize “an uprising in the hope of leading his people to freedom,” according to Deadline.
The trailer is incredibly haunting, featuring the late Nina Simone singing a cover of “Strange Fruit,” which itself is a song based on a poem that protested racism in America. It specifically speaks of the lynching of African Americans, and works well in this trailer to set the tone. What begins as a peek into the movie’s characters toiling as slaves turns into a look at them coming together to rise up against those who would try to hold them down. Nat Turner’s words overtake the haunting tune and a driving drum rhythm rises as they come together to face off against their slavers.
Judging just by the trailer, this movie looks to be pretty incredible.
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