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The Birth of a Nation
D W Griffith's highly controversial and abhorrently racist, yet historically significant American silent epic about the American Civil War and its aftermath.
Director: D.W. Griffith
The highly controversial, yet historically significant American silent epic was at the time the crowning achievement of director D W Griffith, the pioneer credited with creating and perfecting cinematic devices such as the flash-back, the iris shot, the mask and cross-cutting. The Birth of a Nation covers a period of several years and is centered on the relationship of two families during The Civil War and Reconstruction era.
The film was released to great commercial success, being one of the highest grossing films of the Silent era, and launching the career of star Lillian Gish, who would become known as 'The First Lady of American Cinema'. But in portraying the murderous bigots of the Ku Klux Klan as heroic underdogs, this racist propaganda tool is now widely considered the most controversial film of all time. Undeniably a cinematic spectacle, cited for D. W. Griffith’s daring techniques in creating the vocabulary of film, it is a touchstone of white supremacism, an enduring recruiting tool of the far right, and one of America’s most abhorrently racist cultural artefacts.