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.
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.
New progressive presentation of the film from archival 35mm elements, in its original aspect ratio
Music by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra in 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
The Birth of a Nation remains an important and unforgettable historical document and I have never seen it look or sound better. It remains an impressive and draining experience - a journey that demands a position in any cinephile library. The Blu-ray is recommended! - DVD Beaver5/5
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