The Silent Screen #4

The Birth of a Nation - Music: Joseph Carl Breil

The Birth of a Nation (United States, 1915) 190'. Direction: D.W. Griffith. Script: D.W. Griffith, Frank E. Woods (Novel: Thomas F. Dixon Jr.) Music: Silent film (Joseph Carl Breil, D.W. GriffithPhotograph: G.W. Bitzer (B&W).

In 1915, the first The birth of a nation and nothing was ever the same again. D.W. Griffith created the language of cinema. Suddenly cinema was using its resources in an expressive way and was not limited to being filmed theater. The director became known as the father of modern cinema and his work is studied in all faculties of Audiovisual Communication. Despite the fact that the seventh art is what it is thanks to her, it cannot be forgotten that The birth of a nation is a film that glorifies racism and considers the members of the Ku Klux Klan and villains to people of color.

Because of the importance of his work, its xenophobic content is often overlooked. The film, which tells the story of two friendly families representing the north and south of the United States during the Civil War, depicts blacks as violent and rebellious, and the Ku Klux Klan as the only ones capable of containing the chaos that the colored population generated in the southern areas. Drunks, rapists, thieves... that's how I saw it. Griffith to the African-American population.

The premiere of the film was accompanied by controversy. Associations in favor of black rights protested in the theaters where the film was screened and, on the other hand, violent acts by racist gangs against the colored population increased. As if that were not enough, during the opening credits a phrase from the president appeared on the screen Woodrow Wilson praising the Ku Klux Klan like "protector of the south". The Wilson was forced to declare before the press that he disapproved of the "lamentable production".The years have made the film of Griffith has been marked as the mother of cinema, a racist mother, but one whose importance cannot be denied. An act of poetic justice was needed to find the balance and it has arrived this year with the release of a film that shares a title with the original work, but has a radically opposite message.

Joseph Carl Breil (June 29, 1870 - January 23, 1926) was an American lyric tenor, stage director, composer and conductor. He was one of the first American composers to compose music specifically for motion pictures. His first film was Les amours de la reine Élisabeth (1912), starring Sarah Bernhardt . Later, he composed and arranged scores for several other old films, including epics such as The birth of a nation (1915) e Intolerance (1916), by DW Griffith and also obtained the preliminary version of the Phantom of the Opera (1925). ), a score that is now lost. [ citation needed ] His love theme for "The Birth of a Nation, titled "The Perfect Song"was published by Chappell & Co. in an arrangement for voice and keyboard. It was later used as the theme for the radio program "Amos and Andy".