Movie Blog Post: So Proud of Nate Parker and his film The Birth of A Nation

Sunday, October 9, 2016



By Tinsel & Tine Editor, Le Anne Lindsay

I'm certainly not trying to be insensitive to the horrors of rape or suicide. But come on people, this movie is not the platform for that discussion. Nate Parker was not convicted of a crime and has grown up to have a beautiful family and a seven year journey to bringing forth his film - The Birth of a Nation. It is time to rejoice about hard work, dedication, patience and talent paying off -  to Research/Write/Act/Direct/Secure Funding/Go Broke etc.. takes a lot of stamina and heart and belief in what you're doing, and I for one commend Parker for it, and want this to be the conversation!
A black director who knows Parker, but also requested anonymity, said: “It worries me that a film and a guy with so much promise gets cut down a month before his masterpiece gets released. The last two years have proven how much our stories matter to this industry, and this seems like a way to muffle a very important piece of work.” READ MORE Ramin Setoodeh Variety
T&T AGREES with this director, but T&T DISAGREES with the fact that he didn't defended Parker with his name attached. That's cowardly.  Last year everyone was up in arms about #Oscarssowhite now we have the chance to get behind an Oscar worthy project, are we're going to let it go down like this? With the boycott of the movie, what is being said is that no one can learn from past transgressions and that basically Nate Parker & co-writer Jean Celestin do not have the right to try and excel and make a difference with the rest of their lives. This is what I'm hearing.  I wonder what the real Nat Turner would preach on the matter?

It's always hard to watch a movie dealing with the slave narrative.  Even something mixed with humor like Django Unchained (click for T&T post), I can only watch once, because it's just too painful to see a race of human souls, looking like me, be abused and tortured - mind, body and spirit, as if condemned to hell.  But it is important to keep telling these stories, because it may be the only way to cleanse the earth from the horror and injustice of it all.  I believe the energy's of those slaves still exist on this plane and I think they whisper to people like Nate Parker and Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave click for T&T post) urging them to share their stories, to remind current and future generations of all they endured.

I also commend the white actors like Armie Hammer, Mark Boone, Jr. and Tom Proctor who agree to play these roles which bring fully to life characters clearly going against God and their own humanity.  It can't be easy to put yourself in such a dark mind-set of superiority.  There's one scene in The Birth of a Nation that keeps coming back to haunt me - A slave in chains refuses to eat, wishing for death. The overseerer just jaggedly knocks out all the slaves front teeth with a sledge hammer and pike, so he can jam a funnel down the slaves throat; but he does it with nonchalant impatience, as if he were hammering a nail into a stubborn piece of wood.  

I'll tell you something else that makes me mad about how this movie is being perceived - This so called historical fact checking article, which brings up small nit picky things like the name of Turner's slave owner was changed and that the rebellion didn't make it all the way to where the guns were stored, or that Turner was found, rather than turned himself in. It even has the effrontery to say their research "suggests" for the most part, only slaves involved in the rebellion and their allies were hung. Come on, you know once those plantation owners and they're families no longer felt safe to sleep in their beds at night, they killed indiscriminately out of anger, fear and retaliation; at that point, dollars and cents went by the wayside.  I just wish there had never been a time they felt safe to sleep at night.  If the slaves had started killing their masters in their sleep right from the beginning, the whole salve system would have been over within 5 years tops.

But more importantly, if Nate Parker had stuck to every fact, then the criticism would have been - it's a historically accurate movie, without heart or dramatic effect.  The chips are clearly stacked against this film and therefore speaks volumes about the current race climate.

Parker said, “I want everyone to be challenged — it’s kind of like a battle cry from a filmmaking standpoint. Because yes, we need to deal with pervasive racism in Hollywood, but also in society, so I wanted a film that people could watch and be affected — almost hold them hostage in the theater, where they have to see these images, and they have to see the parallels and the themes that are echoing right now in 2016.”  READ MORE  Deadline|Hollywood

Mention must be made of the 1915 D.W. Griffith "The Birth of a Nation". I'd heard of course that it was a racist propaganda movie, used to recruit for the Klu Klux Klan; but what does it mean cosmically, that it's also hailed as a filmmaking masterpiece for its cinematic techniques; #44 on American Film Institute's "Top 100 American Films".  And that it was the first film shown in the White House.  Surely an example of good and evil in constant battle.
"I've reclaimed this title and repurposed it as a tool to challenge racism and white supremacy in America, to inspire a riotous disposition toward any and all injustice in this country (and abroad) and to promote the kind of honest confrontation that will galvanize our society toward healing and sustained systemic change". Parker told Filmmaker magazine.
Also check out Indiewire's piece on 10 Lessons Parker Learned while Making Birth of A Nation which includes the famous directors who stepped up to be mentors.

Well, the dismal results of the opening weekend's box office are already in and can't be changed, but it's not too late to get behind this film for the Oscar season.  Other movies which have not done well prior to winning an Oscar have gone on to late box office success. See THE BIRTH OF A NATION and decide for yourself.

T & T's LAMB (movie bloggers association) Score: 5 outta 5
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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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