Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Check out Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property on YouTube!

It's a docudrama exploring the ethical and social implication of Nat Turner's slave rebellion and the creative work it inspired, and one of very few films about that most divisive event in American history. It's so prickly to this day that Burnett's original concept - make a film about how the rebellion is remembered in the county it happened in - was scrapped because nobody was willing to talk about it on camera.

Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property was directed by Charles Burnett of Killer of Sheep fame. He's one of our most valuable and insightful filmmakers and this is as good a reason as any. It makes a good double-feature with his made-for-TV slavery picture Nightjohn, a film Jonathan Rosenbaum called a masterpiece (Nightjohn has a really striking scene when a cabin full of slaves reads about the rebellion in the newspaper).

As Lincoln and Django Unchained reminded us, films about this era still flare tempers, so it was a brave move on PBS's part to back this one. After you watch it, check out their website which includes some good interview bits with the filmmakers. Where would we be without PBS?

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