Birth of a Nation: Art or Propaganda
This is another strong example of Symbolism; however, even more importantly it foreshadows the coming war. It is Expertly placed to add to the building tension between sides which the audience Already knows results in confrontation. Its placement reflects Griffiths desire To advance the complexity and diversity of film beyond entertainment to higher Levels in society.. To manipulate his audience's emotions, he first had to draw them into The story and in turn into the stories underlying theme. He accomplished this By using numerous virgin film tools, much as an artist uses his own tools to Create a believable painting. Among these tools he uses panoramas to illustrate Setting, to paint, if you will - a moving picture. To show the swell of heated Gunfire on a crowded battlefield i. e. the scene of the battle of Petersburg, or To bring across image of the delicate beauty of his native southern land to Those who had never been there or seen a picture of it. This was the substance That transformed film into a genuine art form.. Once he had the attention and anticipation of the audience, as well as Their almost guaranteed acceptance of his word, he merely had to feed them a Easily grasped, recognizable message to sway their emotions his way. This Method of classic propaganda was used to fuel the audience's already Considerable ill-founded hatred of blacks. It comes in the form of a rebel Black group who terrorizes the Cameron family, the film's main characters. By Placing blacks in this position it isn't difficult to imagine the reaction of an Average theatre goer. The film spawned riots, fired up racism, built stronger The negative stereotypes of blacks. It portrayed them as lazy, as illustrated In the black parliament, where a man rests his bare feet on a desk, alluding to Uselessness in the employment environment. More horrifyingly than that it Portrayed them as ultimately evil with the seizing of the Cameron's home and the Attempted rape of one of their daughters. The obvious bias presented, although Appalling, demonstrates just how effective Griffith was at utilizing film not With the intention to merely entertain, but to spread propaganda and affect the Perceptions of society itself.
Griffith exploited his audience, he turned them against minorities and Themselves. The film Birth of a nation exemplifies ignorance and hate at its Worst. Although it stands for something that today is looked on as morally Wrong, it proves by this very reaction that the film is not just mere Entertainment, but something with a far more serious purpose. Since Griffith Was the first to accomplish something of this nature, Birth of a nation Therefore marks the transformation of film from pure entertainment into art and Propaganda.
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If you want to go to the cinema in Russia today you will have to face two problems.
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