Fox Searchlight has just released the first trailer for The Birth of a Nation, the standout film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and what is sure to be one of the most important films of the year. The Birth of a Nation releases in theaters on Oct. 7th. You can view the trailer and read more about the film after the jump.
Set against the antebellum South, The Birth of a Nation follows Nat Turner (Nate Parker), a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer), accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities–against himself and his fellow slaves–Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom.
In our review from Sundance, we wrote:
In The Birth of a Nation, it’s impossible to ignore the strong theological and spiritual themes running throughout the film. Where it felt tacked on in 12 Years, it’s a core subject here. A welcome addition to the film are the frequent references to and images of African spirituality and religious practice that motivate and comfort Nat.Birth culminates in a religious/theological transgression, of a sort. Nat and his opponents can volley scripture back and forth about slavery, obedience, and freedom, but when Nat baptizes a white man on his owner’s property, that is a bridge too far. Sam orders Nat to be whipped, and this beating triggers his shift to a more violent reaction.