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The ‘Arrival’ of Slavery in Hollywood

8 January 2014 9:11 AM, PST | Pure Movies | See recent Pure Movies news »

Has 'slavery' finally arrived as a 'safe' subject for major motion picture production? If so, why now?

The ordeal of Solomon Northup, a literate, skilled free man of colour from New York who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C., and sold as a slave in the deep south state of Louisiana, is the focus of the 2013 film 12 Years a Slave, directed by Steve McQueen and based on Northup’s 1853 published autobiographical account.  The film, which actually is a remake of Gordon Park’s 1984 television movie, Solomon Northrop’s Odyssey, is a masterful depiction of antebellum southern slave life and, like Haile Gerima’s 1993 brilliant Sankofa, Stan Lathan’s 1982 A House Divided:  Denmark Vesey’s Rebellion and his 1987 Uncle Tom’s Cabin, along with the indomitable classic TV miniseries Roots of 1977, and Jonathan Demme’s Beloved (1998), 12 Years a Slave represents a decided evolution of African American slave narration presented on celluloid. »

- Prof. Brenda Stevenson

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1 item from 2014


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