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Visual & Performing Arts
Movie Review
English (U.K.)
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Discuss The Film In The Context Our Broader Understanding Of American History (Movie Review Sample)


to discuss the film in the context our broader understanding of american history


12 years a slave
A short review
Parish, (2018), and Hornbeck, & Naidu, (2014), observe that in the early 18th and 19th century, the legal institution of human slavery found its way from British America into the United States. At this time, slavery was only permitted in 13 colonies. The institution of slavery was at its peak by the time the American Revolution was underway, Shi, & Tindall, (2016). After this period, writes Smith, (2017), abolitionist voices had begun to be heard and quite a few whites were beginning to look down upon fellow whites who still carried out slavery. This was in the mid-1800s, and this is the period in which this movie is set. The set is about a former free African named Solomon Northup who was lured by two men who promised him an opportunity to play violin at their circus in Washington after which they had promised to pay him handsomely. Northup was a gifted violin player.
Solomon is drugged and shipped away from his family, his home, his status as free man, and certainly from freedom. Together with a female slave, they are sold to a white man named William Ford who turns out to be a very cruel and ruthless slave owner. The slaves are forced to work on Ford's cotton farms and when the production of Ford's farm declines, he sends them away to another slave owner as his crops re-grow. The new slave master is a white man named Epps and is adept at cruelty and torture. He especially tortures Patsey, a young soft-spoken slave who eventually begs Northup to help her end her misery; a request which Solomon vehemently refutes.
In the 12th year of his ordeal, Solomon meets a white Canadian carpenter named Bass who fiercely criticises slavery in all its forms. He is disgusted by the notion by the white class of the American South who believe that blacks are brute, savage and uncouth beasts who need nothing but taming. Solomon begs Bass to get in touch with his family up north and assure them that he is alive and wishes to join them soon; a request which Bass accomplishes.
Important Themes
The movie is rich in the history of slavery and is a near perfect depiction of the post civil war American South as compared to other productions which mostly covered the trade in slaves other rather the actual suffering of the subjects. Several themes are manifested some of which are discussed below:
White supremacy
Solomon is a good violin player. He intends to use his talent to earn livelihood. However, when the two white men see him, all they see is a strong energetic man who could be great service on the sugar and cotton farms of wh

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