Choose one film or series from the attached list to watch, and write a paper on 500 words. follow the guidelines below for your paper. DO NOT JUST SUMMARIZE THE FILM!!! I have seen all of them. The following requirement need to meet.
For the content of your paper:
- Give a BRIEF overview of the film.
- Provide some historical context/background for the people and events portrayed in the film. Connect them to the larger historical themes of the era.
- Based on your course material (lecture, textbook, course reader), discuss the historical accuracy of the film. Your answer must be more than, "this film is historically accurate." You may also use outside sources if you wish (see below).
- OPTIONAL: Considering when this film/series was made, do you think there was a contemporary message? If so, how does that message relate to the actual historical events?
The movie 12 Years a Slave, released in 2013 was directed by Steve McQueen narrates the true account of Solomon Northup, an African-American who was forced into slavery. Adapted from the autobiography of Northup with the same title, the movie recreates the ordeal of Northup during the 12 years of slavery. The movie demonstrates the extraordinary struggle of a free man who was kidnapped and sold for slavery during the pre-Civil War era, to survive and reunite with his family.
The movie recreated the year of 1841 when Northup was kidnapped by two conmen portraying them as working in a circus group. The United States was under the dark shadow of slavery and large numbers of African-American citizens were made to suffer great ordeals at the hands of the ‘whites’. The 1800s saw a number of events in American history like the Missouri compromise ending in the declaration of the state as a slave state. The death of the one-month-old president William Henry Harrison and his replacement by Vice President John Tyler was also a significant event during that era. The film showed the atrocities of the white Americans on the Black people. During the 1800s, although black people were treated subordinate and inferior to the white, they possessed great talent and skills like playing musical instruments, knowledge about places and people, reading and writing and so on. However, they were never given the opportunity to portray these skills. The Blacks were forced to work in harsh conditions in corn and sugar cane fields. Further, the white property owners and even their mistresses used to torture the Black people. The women in particular, faced the brutality of slavery from both white men and women. The white men used to rape them while the mistresses envied them and sought to teach them a lesson. In the larger context, the 19th century was marked by the dominance of the West over other parts of the world. The trend of slavery was evident in most parts of the world and white supremacy reigned all over.
The 2013 movie has portrayed the little nuances of that era very succinctly that could be seen through the lead character of Solomon Northup, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. At the beginning of the movie, the slaves were shown reaping canes in the field while singing in chorus about the almighty and their family. Later in a scene, Solomon is seen having lunch when he notices the juice of the blackberries and plans to make a quill but fails. The flashback of Solomon playing his fiddle and being appreciated by the white people of the Northern part of America also provides evidence of the historical relevancy of the film. Starting from the costumes to the accent of the English language used by the characters, each aspect has been carefully crafted in order to avoid any loophole in representing the slave history of America. In addition, the film has also not shied away from showing the generosity and compassion of a few white Americans towards the black.