Birth of a Nation and The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan

Birth of a Nation and The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan

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"If history bore no relation to life, this motion picture drama could we be reviewed and applauded as a spectacle. As a spectacle it is stupendous" (Hackett, 1914). The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan was adapted into the single most defining film in American cinematic history. The Birth of a Nation is most advanced piece of cinematography of its time, pioneering storytelling and techniques in its three hour long epic. However, America's first and unprecedentedly successful feature motion picture spectacle is regarded as one of the most offensive films in history. A social scope that to the "second era" of the Ku Klux Klan, and wide protests came from its controversial portal of African-American man. However, this sheer racism positively influenced black film making through agitation and outrage. Birth of a Nation is not only the most offensive and successful film in America cinema; it is also the most important. Telling the story of the Civil War from Southern perspective and its aftermath through the eyes of two symbolic families representing either side, a classic vigilante tale unfolds. Yet the heroic figures are the Ku Klux Klan, whom wage war on the Northern to restore order to the South. Griffith even suggests deportation or ethnic cleansing in radical tale of true anti-hero. The racial controversy of the film interprets the reconstruction as the true enemy; the Ku Klux Klan were pioneers of honest and American government as an egalitarian society, while the South led them into a society of Republican chaos. Birth of a Nation is a Dunning School of historical thought, a marvel of cinematic genius and a commentary of society that will never be matched in its influence.
Birth of a Nation in history is ofte...

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Lowery, J. D. (2013). The Dunning School: Historians, Race, and the Meaning of Reconstruction. Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky.
Musser, C. (2004). Moving Towards Fictional Narrative (Vol. The Silent Cinema Reader). (L. G. Kramer, Ed.) New York: Routledge.
Rocchio, V. F. (2000). Reel Racism: Confronting Hollywood's construction of Afro-American culture. Boulder: Westview Press.
Whissel, K. (2008). Picturing American Modernity: Traffic, Technology, and the Silent Cinema. Duke: Duke University Press.
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