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The Birth of a Nation (1915)
Great film, unfairly maligned
I'm always amused to hear people castigate BOAN for its "racist, cartoonish stereotypes." IS the film infused with racism? Sure -- it's a product of 1920s America, EQUALLY infused with racism. As for cartoonish, what silent film ISN'T?!?! The medium RELIED on stereotype and broad mugging in its early days. SUBTLETY wasn't part of the palette of early silent filmmakers -- or actors.
As for its history, it's more accurate than many would care to admit (I'm always amused to hear people pontificate about what did or did not happen in the 19th century, as if they had any historical training or background in the subject). Empowerment of blacks in the post-war South coincided with the DISENFRANCHISEMENT of many southern whites (read section THREE of the 14th amendment), and the resistance of vigilante groups like the Klan did indeed lead to a restoration of southern white political control in the former Confederate states. Northern liberals (than and now) may find the championing of this event repugnant, but it's hardly laughable. To formerly disenfranchised whites, it was something to be celebrated.
BOAN is a legitimate expression of how many non-slaveholding white southerners viewed the experience of Reconstruction. That it contrasts with the northern view is to be expected. To dismiss it out of hand, however, is to ignore the reality of how a people viewed their own history.