Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation stuns Sundance – a groundbreaking work of passion and courage which will be remembered for years to come.
With every opening credit scene there is the promise of unlimited potential. Any film can change one’s life. It can change how you see the world. Some films can even change it.
But only a few times in a generation does a movie meet that potential and become truly groundbreaking. The Birth of a Nation is one such films.
Premiering in the 2016 Sundance U.S. Dramatic Competition, the film was written, produced and directed by Nate Parker. Known largely known for his acting (Red Tails, Beyond the Lights) Parker declined roles all together to dedicate every resource and ounce of energy to make his passion project.
Seven years later it premiered to an audience of twelve hundred at Sundance; those twelve hundred who will never forget that experience.
The Birth of a Nation is the biographical story of Nat Turner, a slave who led a rebellion against slaveholders in Virginia in 1831. However this film serves much more than just a history lesson, but an important reminder of the power of knowledge, love, and strength.
Parker plays the role of Turner as well, and is truly flawless in every scene. Parker brings to life a man brilliant, strong and heroic. During several scenes it’s hard not to ponder which one will be played when they announced his nomination for an Oscar in thirteen months.
Yet the film goes much deeper than just its iconic leading performance. The look, feel, and sound of the film are flawless. Each scene conveys the darkness of the times and the weight of the sin and horrific actions of so many.
Each actor in Parker’s film is utterly committed and give the performance of their lives. This is a testament to Parker. His passion in introducing his film to us in Utah told us of the importance of this film, and the film itself is stunning evidence of that.
This was his passion project. He believed this was a story he had to tell and nothing was going to stop him. That passion spread to everyone involved in this project and what developed from that is truly a masterpiece.
This is a film that will be discussed, analysed and displayed as a lesson and a reminder for all of the world for years to come.
Nate Parker knew how powerful film can be and what he could do with that power. He knew he had a chance to change the world. The Birth of a Nation is that change.