Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Twelve Years A Slave vs. Django Unchained

         Due to the recent film adaption of Solomon Northup's autobiographical narrative, Twelve Years A Slave has gained an exceedingly high amount of recognition. Recently I went to a movie night event held by my university's history society showcasing Django Unchained. The reason I bring this up, is that at this event the hosting professor opened discussion on the film based on film reviews of common websites such as Rotten Tomatoes . In one of these reviews a commentators suggested that the film Twelve Years a Slave was a more realistic adaption of Django Unchained, a view which the professor contradicted.

       The narratives of both Django Unchained and Twelve Years a Slave, were set in 19th century America when the slavery of African Americans was a common, if not nation-wide accepted practice. Despite the fact that they were set in the same time period and in the context of slavery I would argue that they are, as my professor has suggested wholly unrelated. While Twelve Years a Slave was written by a wrongly enslaved person himself about the events that occurred to him while enslaved, Django Unchained is a film designed for entertainment purposes. Though Django Unchained touches upon the inequalities slaves experienced it does not base itself in history nor does it reference historical events.

       Furthering the argument that the film production Twelve Years a Slave does not serve as a sort of 'make-up' for the historical errors of Django Unchained is the undeniable fact that Solomon Northup wrote his autobiographical account at least a century before Django Unchained was even conceived.

       What's more, is that the genres of the respective films are obviously polar opposities. Django Unchained is evidently an action film as exemplified by the scenes of gratuitous violence where the excessive amount of blood begins to = abstract art + a bucket of paint + a child with a sugar high. It is also of note that the type of violence executed in Django Unchained is more akin to the violence expected in a mature video game than that of history. In comparison to the genre of action which Django Unchained so clearly fits into, Twelve Years a Slave was evidently filmed as a Drama. As a dramatic film, Twelve Years a Slave does not devolve into gratuitous violence but rather depicts a more accurate version of the violent acts that were committed against Solomon and other slaves.

     Overall, I though that both were good films in their own right so long as you don't expect Django Unchained to be a historical film and are willing to remind yourself of the deplorable history of slavery that Twelve Years a Slave so honestly depicts.

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