Analysis Of D. W. Griffith's The Birth Of A Nation

1410 Words 6 Pages
The golden legacy of Hollywood birthed such a strong approach to narrative and visual storytelling that it went on to become one of the most dominant styles of filmmaking worldwide. Hollywood’s foundation, however, was contaminated with a strain of racism from the beginning with one of its initial major films, D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation. With the discriminatory portrayal of African Americans, this Hollywood product would become a significant influence of discussion and mindset for films, and audiences alike, for years to come. The new film, The Birth of a Nation(2016) by Nate Parker, and the portrayal of the Nat Turner rebellion seems to be the latest in a long line of films endeavoring to correct the legacy of racist black American portrayals in Hollywood films that originated from the 1915 film of the same name. In regards to the racist legacy of the 1915 …show more content…
Oscar Micheaux, an independent film director would go on to become one of the most prolific black American directors of the period would enter the dialog of the mulatto with his film Within Our Gates. The issue Micheaux took on, that Griffith’s mulatto character lacked, was the idea of social constraints and dangers a mulatto character must endure. Where Griffith created a mulatto as a villain to be defeated, Micheaux exhibited a mulatto, not as a villain, but as a victim of society’s restraints due to racism. This would allow audiences a chance to view another portrayal of the mulatto character beyond that of Griffith and Hollywood, but unfortunately, unlike Hollywood’s darling film The Birth of a Nation, Micheaux’s film would not be given the viewership to help correct Griffith’s racist 1915 film. Consequently, there was not nearly enough influence given to independent directs like Micheaux to counteract the messages in Griffith’s film about mulattos, and beyond that, African Americans

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