lunes, 20 de julio de 2009

Birth Of A Nation

The original blockbuster, based on the novel The Klansman, this story deals with two great friends and their families, one from the north and the other from the south, who are forced to turn into enemies thanks to The Civil War. There is no doubt that this is one of the greatest films in history, a masterpiece of the silent cinema. D. W. Griffith had already made many films where he created the use of editing, but it was with this one that the language of cinema and linear editing came into the public consciousness for sure, a model that would go on to be used ‘till even today.

The first half of the film is truly incredible, taking place in the early days of the Civil War and during the battle, and concentrates on it’s human characters realistically and caringly. The war sequences are very well made and still hold up, even today. Sadly it all comes crumbling down with D. W. Griffith’s reinterpretation of history, where the evil black men are taking over the South and a group of white men, led by the two boys from the families, decide to form an organization to fight the evil black men who rape white women and plan to take over the government. That organization’s name? The Ku Klux Klan, who here are portrayed as heroic knights in protection of the values of America. This second half is so damn ridiculous that it’s hard for me to even believe someone didn’t tell Griffith that this wasn’t a good idea. By the time the Klan rides out, in their white robes and hooded horses to the tune of a cavalry march, I couldn’t stop shaking my head in disbelief. But still it can’t be denied the importance, impact and historical necessity of this film. So yes, it’s a great film, if a politically incorrect one. Just try to watch the second half without shuddering.

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