Birth Of A Nation: Art Or Propaganda Essay examples

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Birth of A Nation: Art or Propaganda

Mankind, engaging in war, driven by whatever instincts guide him, seeks to keep the defeats and victories of battle in his memory and on his conscience.
To accomplish this men have used paint and canvas, ink and paper, or instrument and song in their effort to communicate the tragedy and glory of war. Never, before the career of D.W. Griffith had anyone attempted to bring the subject to film. The result of his efforts, weaknesses aside, mark a change in attitude towards film as a media. Perhaps audiences previously going to a picture expected emotional manipulation. After all, years before the film Birth of a nation, makers of film employed techniques to evoke pathos
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This imagery proves that Griffith wasn't just presenting actors and a plot, he intended to dig far deeper than that, into the realm of a clever storyteller. Another example of his unique style is the use of foreshadowing, another literary device now commonly employed in film. The most prominent example of this is the scene where two gentlemen are talking, and as the camera pans down, we see a puppy struggling with a kitten. This is another strong example of symbolism; however, even more importantly it foreshadows the coming war. It is expertly placed to add to the building tension between sides which the audience already knows results in confrontation. Its placement reflects Griffiths desire to advance the complexity and diversity of film beyond entertainment to higher levels in society.

To manipulate his audience's emotions, he first had to draw them into the story and in turn into the stories underlying theme. He accomplished this by using numerous virgin film tools, much as an artist uses his own tools to create a believable painting. Among these tools he uses panoramas to illustrate setting, to paint, if you will - a moving picture. To show the swell of heated gunfire on a crowded battlefield i.e.the scene of the battle of Petersburg, or to bring across image of the delicate beauty of his native southern land to those who had never been there or

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