The Birth of a Nation is still lives to be of the most controversial movies in the history of American film due to its overtly racist subject. The film produced and directed by D.W. Griffith in 1915 and it is well celebrated as the most triumphant and artistically advanced movie of its time. Since its initial release, The Birth of a Nation flickered divisiveness and riots. It tells the Civil War’s story and the outcome, as observed in the eyes of two different families, that is, the Camerons and the Stonemans coming from the South and the North respectively (Griffith, 1915).
When war erupts, the Stonemans are in support of the Union whereas Camerons are devoted to Dixie. When the war ends, Ben Cameron organizes many concurring Southerners into an underground vigilante group referred to as Ku Klux Klan (KKK) because of his being upset by the fact that his adored south has been taken over by carpetbaggers and blacks. Flora, Cameron’s adored younger sister soars to her death rather yielding to the licentious advances of traitor slave Gus. Consequently, KKK attacks the Northern-inspired government, bringing back “order” in the end, to the south (Griffith, 1915).
Griffith (1915) observes that the divergence legacy of this initial American chartbuster epic base on the blend of Southern-bred landmark technical accomplishments and racism of D.W. Griffith, as his account of the Civil War and Reconstruction underscored miscegenation’s fears and KKK’s heroism. Seeking to produce the greatest film ever, he uses all the technical experiments together with folk tunes and classical music. His message is not only meant for colossal scale of Civil War struggles but also his core character’s intimate psychology.
The climatic move of the Klan to rescue white girlhood from adulteration of the black marked the producer’s most amazing and significant utilization of parallel editing to spur emotional excitement. This is the most unreserved and the longest American movie produced as of 1915, open to rants due to its creativity and record-breaking returns of box office, aiding in legitimization of movies as “reputable” entertainment (Griffith, 1915). The movies appeal was however barely all positive because National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) planned a public campaign in opposition to the film and insisted that Griffith makes cuts. As a result, it was banned in a number of states because of its racism, after its premiere in Boston, race riots erupted, and it unswervingly predisposed the return of the Klan in the 20 century. Decades after its being produced the movie still stirs up protests due to its cinematic power’s contradictory proof.
Griffith, D. W. (Producer) & Griffith, D. W. (Director). (1915). The Birth of a Nation. United States: Reliance-Majestic Studios.