“Gone with the Winds” and “Uncle Tom’s cabin” have revealed the issue of racism and racial segregation years before appropriate legislation in America. The movie, as a piece of Modern Art, has been depicted in the same way for only the last forty years. Movies on racism in the USA helps us to point out and emphasize what differentiates us from animals or what should. Within this material, I’ve chosen six movies about racism in the USA among dozens seen. We can symbolically divide it into three groups of two. Movies about slavery in the USA: “Amistad” and “12 years of slavery”. Movies about segregation: “The Help” and “Selma”. Movies about racism: “Time to kill” and “American History X”. These six stories seize 200 years of American history.
In addition to “12 years of slavery”, “Amistad” is based on bestseller book, which in this respect, depicts the real story, created by a historian. The plot does best to describe and to make a historical reflection of one among the most important events in a struggle with international slavery in the first half of the XIX century. The main events take place within the 1839-1840-s in the USA, when the most powerful states as Britain, USA, and Spain had already agreed to accept slavery as something belong the law. The movie of Steven Spielberg emotionally stresses the importance of the “Amistad case” and its prolonged influence on the American society and even future Civil War. The trial itself was not only an issue of public interest. It has become an apple of discord between a number of complainants and between Juridical and Executive branches of power in the USA. Four years after “List of Schindler” masterpiece, Steven Spielberg has stressed the audience with a cruel scene of killing slaves to solve some “logistic” transport mistakes. The movie is a brilliant example of historical accuracy in locations, requisites, costumes, and makeup – all these have guaranteed a strong feeling of historical presence.
12 years of slavery
This movie about racism is the USA can be deservedly characterized as the best film about slavery ever made and among the most art sophisticated on the issue. Multiple movie awards, including Oscar for the “Best Picture”. You will have two-hour faith to find yourself within the American South in the middle of the XIX century, surrounded by fields of cotton, swamps and the very slavery. Ingeniously chosen locations create a strong effect of presence and historical authenticity. “12 years of slavery” is based on the real story of an Afro-American Solomon Northup, who was forced to be a slave. History of slavery in the South is depicted by means of contrast. A free black man, a citizen of the northern state has been illegally imprisoned and now he has to survive as a slave within a plantation. Now the opposite is true for Solomon and he suffers an attitude like an animal. Northup is on the rack to be beaten, sold and punished like a cow or a dog. Twenty years before the Civil War and a hundred years before the desegregation, we perceive real slavery.
“The Help” is based on a book by Kathryn Stockett, which depicts a fictional story with fictional characters, but with an accurate historical environment of the 1960-s. The USA is still far from the complete overcoming of the segregation and Martin Luther King is only on his way to Washington. The main events take place in Jackson, the capital of the Mississippi state. “The Help” operates with emotional contrasts. Sunny summer weather and for a show happy atmosphere, young delicate women in nice dresses, loftiness and cheerfulness in conversation. The same Jackson is a place with metal plates “Colored” and “White”, segregating public places. Afro-Americans already can take a desirable place in transport or a cafeteria, but avoid some particular sites. We can see a charity ball to help the starving children of Africa, held by a young woman who passionately lobbies her racial initiatives and humiliates her Help. Double standards with the maids are the key issue and a point of the whole story. They bring up white children and kiss them, but they softly forced to use a separate toilet, as they are stated to have “other kind of deceases”.
The creators of “Selma” set oneself a task to recreate the real historical events of the 1964-1964-s. The United Society has already experienced changes and desegregation within public transport and public places, in schools and universities. Martin Luther King has already organized a famous “March on Washington” and proclaimed his famous “I have a dream” speech. However black citizens of some states yet cannot fulfill their rights to vote and even to be registered to vote. In this respect, the city of Selma has become an apple of a discord and now a site of major desegregation struggle, impassioned by Martin Luther King. He organizes marches of freedom and equal rights to overcome prejudices and violations of an American Law. “Selma” accurately describes these events took place in Selma, as well as depicting the “Bloody Sunday”, which were wired all over the country. In additional, intimate processes and debates within the White House. In particular, a participation of President Lyndon Johnson in the complete desegregation of the society.
Time to kill
John Grisham does his best and most well-known books depicting racism issues within the US society, in particular in the South. And as well as most of his stories are the courtroom drama, “Time to kill” earns an additional sense in this respect. Carl Lee Hailey kills the rapists of his little daughter with the M-16 gun and he seeks assistance. He believes that a black man in Mississippi can have a fair trial with no reference to the color of his skin. Carl Lee is now not only a murderer of two white local guys with the Confederate flag on the track. He and his lawyer are the aims for Ku Klux Klan, marching through the streets of the city. Afro-American citizens have to experience a strong conflict and violence with men, who hide their faces behind the white hoodie. The movie emphasizes not only a direct violence and racial intolerance, but the inner prejudice. White juries cannot be completely faithful to themselves dealing with a black accused Carl Lee. Despite the fact that the ending is more like a fairy-tale, we see a kind of social awakening and Renaissance as a climax of the issue.
American History X
This movie has earned an iconic status for the last twenty years and is generally presented within different recommended lists to watch. “American History X” is one of the most social instructive movies about racism in the USA. It is much more about aggression and intolerance than about segregation. All citizens have equal rights on paper, but the underground reality is cruel and full of prejudice and violence. The movie depicts a dark backstage of any modern society of dissocial behavior. Instead of attending to self-improvement and work, a young man Derek (Edvard Norton) creates a racial organization, delivering bursts of violence to the streets. The consider black people and other national minorities as the rapists of America – a modern plague, which should be destroyed. Protagonist experience his emotional Renaissance in prison being humiliated by his former ideological partners and the same-thinkers.