masters of cinema
The Birth of a Nation

The Birth of a Nation

D. W. Griffith ,

Film Summary

Country:

Language:

Year:

Runtime:

194

Aspect Ratio:

1.33:1

Colour:

Tinted

Certificate:

15

Subtitles:

Genre:

Drama War

One of the most artistically significant and controversial motion pictures ever made, D. W. Griffith’s silent epic The Birth of a Nation was a massive commercial success at the time of its release, owing to its dynamic storytelling and its breakthrough developments in cinema language that have become common traits of practically every film that has since followed.

However, the picture’s legacy is one that continues to elicit outrage over its vulgar depictions of African-Americans and its deceptive historiography of the United States in the second half of the nineteenth century.The Birth of a Nation begins depicting the amiable relationship between two families, Northern and Southern, and the way in which the impending Civil War intensifies the conflict of their worldviews.

Following the end of the war and the assassination of President Lincoln, a lawless chaos courses throughout the Reconstruction South, and the Ku Klux Klan is formed to take on a rising black militia and impose a vengeful vigilante justice across their land and “birthright”.It’s a film that’s deeply divisive even to the senses of a single viewer: images of painterly beauty in composition and tonal quality often exhibit a contemptuous, inflammatory coarseness with regard to subject matter; just as frequently, long tracts evince an innocent, terrifically lyrical grandeur.

Griffith would attempt to make amends for the moral schism of this schizophrenic epic in his next film, Intolerance, but The Birth of a Nation cannot — and should not — remain unseen, or undiscussed: it is a great, and terrible, masterpiece. The Masters of Cinema Series releases Griffith’s three-hour epic, including a series of the director’s Civil War shorts, for the first time on Blu-ray in the UK.

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Available:

The Birth of a Nation Blu-ray

£11.99

SKU:
EKA70107
1 Disc
#52

  • New 1080p presentation of the film from archival 35mm elements, in its original aspect ratio
  • Music by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo and 5.1 surround
  • Short archival introductions to the film by D. W. Griffith and Walter Huston
  • 1930 re-release title sequence
  • Seven Civil War shorts directed by Griffith: In the Border States (1910); The House with Closed Shutters (1910); The Fugitive (1910); His Trust (1911); His Trust Fulfilled (1911); Swords and Hearts (1911); and The Battle (1911)
  • 1993 documentary on the making of the film
  • 44-PAGE BOOKLET containing vintage writing by D. W. Griffith, Thomas Dixon, Francis Hackett, Seymour Stern, and Michael Powell, plus rare archival materials.

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