The Birth of A Nation Tho
I have always hated or really disliked people that saw a movie or television show and claimed that they became a different person because of said movie or show. When The Passion of The Christ was released I knew a guy that was a real douche. When he saw the movie he said that he had an outer body experience and he was a changed man because of the movie. Now prior to seeing this movie, the douche regularly cheated on his wife and lied to his kids all the time. This is not snitching or hating on the guy but it was publicly known that this guy was a douche. But after he saw The Passion of The Christ, he became a witness. He was born again. The months following his viewing of the film people would ask me if he had gone crazy because they knew how much of douche he was and honestly remained to be. Anyone that would listen he would tell them how powerful the movie was and how everyone should be going to church every Sunday. He even joined different groups within the church that no one thought he would be a good fit for, but he did not care. He had been saved by The Passion of The Christ. Now I am not against organized religion. I grew up in the church and continue to go sparingly. I have never seen and never will see that movie because growing up, my church would put on the exact same play every year. And my mother would make my brothers and I go to see the play every year. Of course the movie was way more graphic from what I am told but both nail home the same point. Every time I saw the play, it never made me want to be a change agent for Christ. I wasn’t mad at the douche for wanting to be involved in church, but he continued douche behavior even after he was reborn. I think he just felt better being a douche that witnessed the gospel to others.
My theory presented above came into question about 12 hours ago. The reason it was in question is because I saw Nate Parker’s The Birth of A Nation. I heard good things about this movie maybe a year ago. I never studied Nat Turner deeply but I knew about the rebellion but I wasn’t sure it would make for a great film. I did not bother to see 12 Years A Slave nor did I see The Butler. Nothing against those movies, but when a movie gets too much hype and Oscar buzz it is usually boring. Also my older brother saw both movies and told me they were not entertaining at all. We often have similar taste in movies so I took his word for it. When I saw the early trailers for The Birth of A Nation, my interest in seeing the film was piqued. But I wasn’t completely sure that I really wanted to see the movie. As a Black man in America, times are hard enough and I would not want to add to that by watching a depressing slave movie. So I did what many dumb people do when deciding on seeing a movie or not. I read reviews. Every time I have paid attention to reviews, I have been disappointed. Reviews said Vanilla Sky was a masterpiece! GTFOHWTBS! Reviews were not too kind to the Will Smith vehicle Focus, but I actually enjoyed that movie. The thing about the reviews I read and listened to for The Birth of A Nation is that they were all by Black people. So there was nothing really bad said about the movie as far as I was concerned.
After reading and listening to my biased reviews, I truly went into this movie with and open mind. If it was bad, I would say how bad it was, and if it was good then I would explain that I was right and all the haters were wrong. And I was right. The movie was amazing. I don’t like using that word but dammit this was a great movie. Before seeing the movie I heard someone say that it is the unfunny Django. I loved Django so I knew that I would at least like this movie. Most slave movies and movies that take place in that era are extremely depressing. But Nate Parker made this movie sad, depressing, and uplifting. There are times that you want to shed a tear, there are times that make you think about your life right now, and there are times that make you want to do that “Time Haters” Chappelle Show skit.
I don’t understand the technical aspect of film making, but this movie was shot beautifully. Even the really tough scenes made you want to lean forward instead of crouch in your seat. One of the best scenes in the movie is when Nat Turner decides he is going to stop preaching what the slave owners want him to preach and formulate his own sermon from his personal hell that he was living in. This is a powerful scene because he was sent to different plantations to do one job, preach to slaves about how it was the Lord’s will to obey your masters, but in this scene his voice becomes powerful and it ignites his slave revolt. After seeing this movie, I don’t think I have become a militant Black man. I don’t think that all white people are bad. I am not a changed man. But I am serious fan of this movie. I think that it is a movie that needed to made, especially given how Black people have been treated recently in America. So I am not encouraging my brothers and sisters to punch any white person they feel in the face. That would be wrong. I am telling to you to go see this movie because it might not change you but it will change the way you feel.