Fox Searchlight has released a new poster for the upcoming slavery drama The Birth of a Nation, and it’s bound to get people talking. The passion project of co-writer/director/producer/star Nate Parker is a historical drama chronicling the life of Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher who was used to “pacify” other slaves in neighboring plantations via his sermons, and who subsequently led a bloody uprising that had reverberations throughout the country.
This new poster shows Parker as Turner with a noose around his neck, except the noose is made out of the American flag. I am incredibly curious to see what the conversation surrounding Birth of a Nation will be when it hits theaters in October, as it has taken on even more social relevancy since its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January, where it scored the Audience and Grand Jury awards and landed a record-breaking $17 million distribution deal with Fox Searchlight. It’s surely an Oscar contender and will likely be in the public conversation through January at least, but whereas Nation is about frustration, anger, and hypocrisy, another race-driven historical drama awards contender—Jeff Nichols‘ chronicle of interracial marriage Loving—appears to be more about the power of love and thus has a more uplifting narrative.
Having caught Birth of a Nation at Sundance, I have some issues of my own with the film (mostly to do with the filmmaking/storytelling), but interest in the picture should hit a fever pitch in the next month or two, and it can’t be denied that Fox Searchlight is diving headfirst into the social conversation with its marketing thus far.
You can check out the poster below, via TIDAL, and click here to read Matt’s positive review of the film from Sundance. The movie also stars Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Penelope Ann Miller, Aunjane Ellis, Jackie Earle Haley, Mark Boone Jr, Colman Domingo, Dwight Henry, Esther Scott, Roger Guenveur Smith, and Gabrielle Union. The Birth of a Nation opens in theaters on October 7th.
Here’s the official synopsis for The Birth of a Nation:
Set against the antebellum South, THE BIRTH OF A NATION follows Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner, 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.