10, December 2012
The Birth of A Nation and Its Impact on American Society
“The Most Controversial Motion Picture of All Time”
The late 19th century, was a period that laid vast technological progression in the film industry toward the start of the twentieth century. During the time that new technology brought in the conception of motion pictures and on screen projections, the imageries of African Americans on big screen were derogatory characters that portrayed them as ignorant, lazy. African Americans were concerned about race and racism in the motion picture industry from its inception. These degrading stereotypical portrayals of African Americans in film were a result of widely popular, idealized beliefs in the white society about African Americans and African American lifestyles as represented in historical and modern-day literature and personal accounts about the plantation and the “happy, faithful slaves.” “Many of these early films had suggestive and derogatory titles such as The Wooing and Wedding of a Coon (1905) and A Nigger in a Woodpile (1904).” (SOURCE) However, it can be alluded that no motion picture film had the same political or social impact as a single, racist, entertainment film than D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation.” The Birth of a Nation was created during the silent film era, but its ground breaking editing and cinematic techniques made it an instant film classic. The film “pioneered such camera techniques as the use of panoramic long shots, the iris effects, still-shots, night photography, panning camera shots, and a carefully staged battle sequence with hundreds of extras made to look like thousands. It also contained many new artistic techniques, such as color tinting for dramatic purposes, building up the plot to an exciting climax, dramatizing history alongside fiction, and featuring its own musical score written for an orchestra.” (Wikipedia.org)...