The film I studied was 12 years a slave. The plot of 12 years a slave follows the life of Solomon northup. Years before the civil war Solomon was a free black man living in New York, America. He was kidnapped and sold into slavery and was sold to a cruel white owner. For 12 years solomon was beaten and worked into submission hoping one day, the chance to one day see his wife and kids again. Solomon’s drive and ability to maintain dignity is a key aspect in the film and drives him through the 12 toughest years of his life.
I believe a key theme in this movie is motivation and survival. In the film Platt, which is his black name, previously called Chiwetel Ejiofor but was given Platt by the white men running the slave auction. Throughout the movie Platt showed courage and endurance to survive everything that was thrown at him.” I survive. I will not fall into despair. I will offer up my talents to Master Ford. I will keep myself hardy till freedom is opportune”. This quote from the film shows that Platt was not going to sit down and let the white men force him into labour. This is a key theme in the movie as it shows personal motivation and the ability to survive under tough circumstances. Another key theme addressed in this film was racial segregation and racism. Words such as “Nigger” and black slang were expressed multiple times throughout the text. This identifies and shows people viewing that words and discrimination could do more damage to people than physical abuse.
Historically this text takes us back to the days of slavery and racial segregation throughout the world. “What is the price for the ones Platt and Eliza?, A thousand for Platt; he is a nigger of talent”. This quote comes from the time in the film when Platt and Eliza (A fellow slave) are getting sold to a white cotton picking farm. This quote shows us how the white men and women did not treat the African american people like humans and they treated them more as objects and working tools. “Prides himself on being a “nigger breaker.” But truthfully I could find no others who would have you. You’ve made a reputation of yourself. Whatever your circumstances, you are an exceptional nigger, Platt. I fear no good will come of it”. This quote shows that the white slave owners tried to break the black men and women into believing that they are indeed just a slave and not a real human being.
This film shows us that we once lived in a very dark world that would be willing to discriminate against one another based on the colour of their skin. The scenes shown in this film show white men whipping black men and women. It depicts to us as the viewers what happened in those days and portrays the level of abuse that these men and women had to go through. All though it is not a pleasant scene, the actions shown in the scene teach us about the past and how cruel it was for the African American people.
Personally, the film teaches me and gives me a better understanding of how these men and women were treated back in the day. It also gives me a new viewpoint on how I see the slave trade. I once thought that the slave trade was not violent and the black men and women were paid for their work, but however this is not the case. The slave trade and the racial discrimination period of time was cruel and left people without a proper home and ripped them from their families, it also allowed white men the right to beat an innocent black man just for looking at him for too long.
I would definitely recommend this film to others as it depicts a story of how a man was able to overcome the odds and break away from the terrible fortune he had been given. I also enjoyed how they portrayed Platt (Solomon). Throughout the movie they were able to show the ups and downs of platts life through various film techniques, This added depth to the film and gained us a better knowledge of his character.