Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): Nat Turner & Charles Burnett: video essay on Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property

Monday, November 7, 2016

Nat Turner & Charles Burnett: video essay on Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property

This cross-post was written in October, but delayed until my Favorites series ended yesterday, so that the schedule wouldn't be too cluttered.

It had been a few months since I posted any video essays on Fandor (or anywhere for that matter), but I’m happy to return now with a short video exploring Charles Burnett’s film Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property – obviously very relevant given the recent release of Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation biopic of Turner.

(more information & images from the video follow the jump)

During my break, I had other distractions but was also meditating on some of the changes occurring at Fandor, where there has been more of a focus on shorter length, more extensive text, and different cuts for Facebook and Vimeo (I created a short Facebook "teaser" version for this video as well, but ultimately it wasn't used - maybe I'll be able to share it at a later date).

Here is part of my intro on Fandor Keyframe:
Tomorrow, Nate Parker’s long-awaited The Birth of a Nation will be released in the United States. Surprisingly, the story of Nat Turner—the slave who led a violent rebellion in Virginia that struck fear into the hearts of the South’s plantation elite—has seldom been told on the screen before. William Styron’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967) was slated for a film adaptation in the early seventies, to be directed by Norman Jewison, but was scrapped due to controversy. Styron’s book offended many African-Americans who felt that he had transformed a black icon beyond recognition, inventing a lustful desire for a white teenager and voicing bitter, racist second thoughts as Turner sits in his jail cell. ... (Read the rest)
I look forward to sharing more work on Fandor in coming months, as well as on my personal YouTube/Vimeo channels. In fact I have another video waiting in the wings that was created even before this one, a formal-political analysis of an Ousmane Sembene movie which I’m very proud of - it will debut next week. And I’m going to be resuming work on the Citizen Kane series as well as resuming some of my stalled YouTube series. With the Favorites finished, a lot of new work is coming soon, and much of it will be video-based.

UPDATE - Fandor has published this video on YouTube as well:


Anonymous said...

Did you ever get around to watching it? What did you think? Can we expect a post on the movie anytime soon?

I don't know if you read my personal review on it, but I was really disappointed with The Birth of a Nation and the more I think back on it, the more I actually find myself disliking Parker's movie. I'm curious what you're thoughts are, but it didn't seem anywhere near incendiary enough.

Joel Bocko said...

I actually never got around to seeing Birth of a Nation. I had been pretty curious early in the year, though I have to admit the preview with its Gangs of NY-style showdown made me a little nervous. From what I've read of the reviews, it sounds like you might be right. I'm sure I'll see it at some point on video; I am still curious how he tackled the subject. Sadly, the bold title choice might have been the best thing about the movie in the end. I missed your review but will look for it now; the discussion surrounding the film still interests me.