“Submit yourselves to your masters in all respect.” Here’s the first teaser trailer for The Birth of a Nation, which won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance — and drew a record $17.5 million pickup. The film, which drew comparisons in Park City not only to 12 Years a Slave but also Schindler’s List, will get an awards-season release via Fox Searchlight.
This two-minute look at the film directed by and starring Nate Parker is set to Nina Simone’s chilling cover of the Billie Holiday classic “Strange Fruit.” The setting is the pre-war South; Nat Turner (Parker) is a literate slave and preacher whose financially strapped owner (Armie Hammer) accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities — against himself and his fellow slaves — Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hope of leading his people to freedom.
The film also stars Jackie Earle Haley, Gabrielle Union, Penelope Ann Miller, Aunjanue Ellis, Mark Boone Junior and Aja Naomi King. Parker produced it with Jason Michael Berman, Aaron L. Gilbert, Preston L. Holmes and Kevin Turen. Have a look at the teaser above and decide whether it’s tougher to watch or to look away.