Birth of a Nation film critique Essay

1679 Words Dec 21st, 2013 7 Pages
D. W. Griffith was raised on a Kentucky farm in Crestwood, with his father, his mother, and sister. His father was a colonel in the Confederate Army, and served Kentucky as a state legislator. His family raised him Methodist, and his sister did his schooling in a one-room schoolhouse. At the age of 10, his father died and his mother left the farm to move to Louisville, Kentucky. They struggled with poverty after that, and he eventually got into acting and filmmaking. He started off as an actor when his first screenplay was rejected. However, he started working with a production company called Biograph, and soon became the main director. However, his intentions and budget did not match up with Biograph’s ideas and motives, so he left …show more content…
The Cameron family got poorer at the start of the war, while the Stoneman family in the North remained wealthy. In the movie, it depicts the Union army, with freed slaves, as a disaster, with irrationally hateful attitudes towards the South. The abolitionists, carpetbaggers, and Radical Republicans are the antagonists in the film, and justify the forming of the vigilante group, the Ku Klux Klan. He depicted the Ku Klux Klan restoring order to the Post-war South in reaction to the ‘misrule’ of their country. The freed slaves and Union army soldiers are portrayed as unnecessarily violent and sex crazed. This represents the Dunning’s school notion that the former slaves will never be fully assimilated into the society because of their ‘true’ nature that disrupts the natural order of their society. Moving on, the five character types Donald Bogle talks about are maintained in this film. First, I’d like to mention the Cameron family maid named Mammy. An obvious portrayal of the mammy included darker skin, which is supposed to de sex the character, as well as a round body shape that is supposed to come off as motherly, which further takes away from her sexuality. In the film, she is viewed as constantly loyal to the Cameron’s, in the face of the Union soldiers and people from up North. When the Stoneman’s butler comes into town, she is antagonistic towards him with her attitude. She denies the

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