Because how do you not pick Birth of a Nation for 1915?
Honestly I could have just ended my article there, because I don’t even need to explain this choice, but I told myself I’m gonna try to write 500 words about each film, so I’ll figure out something to talk about.
It’s based on a book called The Clansman, which already tells you you’re starting off on the wrong foot. It’s kind of weird that D.W. Griffith chose this as his first major feature. I get why he chose it in scope, but starting from the point of view of the KKK… kind of fucked up.
Apparently the title was The Clansman when it came out, but at some unidentified point in time afterward, it was retitled The Birth of a Nation, speaking to the fact that Griffith believes that after the Civil War, we became a unified nation. Which is hilarious, because the end of this movie has a group who hates blacks and would continue to do everything in their power to keep racism alive in the south for a hundred-plus years after the end of that war. (more…)