The Birth of a Nation — 4 years ago
If you are a student of history or a student of film, this film is definitely a must see, but I would suggest that you come at this movie from the proper perspective. From a film history standpoint, the film was responsible for defining many of the visual and story elements that are standard even today. From a historical standpoint, it is fascinating, but not as a study of the American Civil War. The historical fascination of this movie lies in its perspective, in 1915, of a war that was not very distant for the people alive at the time. It most certainly takes a controversial viewpoint of the Ku Klux Klan and the reconstruction of the south, but it is important to keep in mind, that this film was made a mere 50 years after the events portrayed in the film and many of the beliefs and ideals of the period depicted in the movie were still alive and well amongst people who had lived through the war themselves. As I write this, we are 94 years removed from this film, 144 years removed from the American Civil War, and I recently helped elect America’s first African-American President. Birth of a Nation, indeed.