TIFF16 DAY FOUR: SLAVES & WITCHES

BIRTH OF A NATION

In a stage of American History slavery ruled the land. Nate Parker brings to us a tale of Nat Turner, an enslaved preacher who ends up inciting an uprising in the south.

Every year we sit down to talk about the slave movie of the year. Sadly these films still resonate with actions ongoing in the United States of America with the state of racial tensions. This brings a sense of unneeded (or needed?) importance to these films as we watch as African Americans being chained and mauled and we cheer on as they break those chains and attack their oppressors. These cheers however, are cathartic for current day issues. However, how does that feel when the actual film you’re watching doesn’t work for you? When the actual tale of Nat Turner falls into a genre that remains trite? Do you give the film a pass and say it was still powerful to see those images of Black Men rising up?

I wonder why these sort of images aren’t being placed on current day. Why is it so many films have to be period films for us to get a story of the African-American rising up against those who oppress them.

The Birth of a Nation is an average movie at best. It sets itself up as a film that wants us to revel in just how bad it once was. We sit in our seats questioning if it’s gotten much better. However, before we get to that angering point of debating the state of the safety of the Black man in American society, we have to admit that this movie isn’t great.

BLAIR WITCH

I remember the 90s. I remember when the original Blair Witch was released. While it wasn’t my cup of tea then I remember being engaged by how crazy it was in its marketing. This movie does it’s best to recapture what was an insane craze of the time and build on it in a way that I almost respect.

I remember being skeptical of these found footage type of stories a few years back when Paranormal Activity came out. I saw people going wild and just didn’t get it. Then I went in head first and loved it. Here however, while I feel the jump scares that are given are sincerely more effective than many other more produced horror franchises.

The film takes us back into the woods with some questionable logic but I left the movie with a  lot of questions that I’d love to ask about. The video that inspires the main characters to go into the woods later we see it again and it introduces some time manipulation. So I’m curious to know more, which I can say is pretty much a win for a movie called Blair Witch.

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Author: Andrew Robinson

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