Friday, 24 October 2014
12 years a slave
12 years a slave- I think this film is an amazing film because it is really entertaining but also because how it portrays slavery. The fact that the story line is presented in the eyes of someone who would have been a slave and their views of slavery and that it is not in the eyes of the slave owners as their views on slavery would have been completely different, this gives a much better understanding of what slavery was like and how the slaves were treated as well as how they would have felt too.
I think that the key features of the condition of slavery in the film is that the woman and the men cost different, depending on their value as there would have been different jobs like plantations and a house slave. However women are treated just as bad as men, and this is shown in the film when the young woman got whipped by the main character because she went off to get soap.
The film is a great film for showing the reality of slavery as it shows that a free black man who has a family etc. can be living his life and then suddenly become a slave if he is not too careful-because he trusted the two white men at the beginning of the film. It also shows the reality of slavery because it shows the dominance of the white people and that they have control over the slaves, because they took away the main characters papers, so he couldn't prove that he was a free man. This shows that the slaves were treated like animals and not people. Another interesting point that the film highlights is that the two white men decided to get a black man (not caring if he was 'free' or not) and this shows what the mindset of the slave owners and slave catchers were like, because they only cared about their lives and not about people who were black but not actually slaves.
There was one significant anti-slavery voice in the film which was the Canadian man which I found one of the most interesting parts of the film and the way it portrays slavery. The film makes a really good scene where the Canadian is white but is working for the slave owners (but actually gets paid, has his own cabin and doesn't actually have to be there and can go whenever he chooses), and he his working with the slaves and doing the same jobs as them. I liked this bit of the film because it really made it clear in how bad slavery actually was, because the slaves had to stay there etc. But what is also really interesting is when the Canadian man talks about how the slaves are treated and the fact that he actually disagrees with what the slave owner is saying and doing to the slaves, yet because he is white he doesn't get punished for talking, but if the slaves spoke then they would be punished.
I found that there was some difference between Ford and Epps despite the apparent kindness that Ford shows to Solomon because I think that Epps takes advantage of the slaves more because he regards them as his property and that he paid for them so he can do what he wants, and doesn't think about how the slaves might feel.
When the slaves sing the song "Roll, Jordan, Roll" it really expresses the despair of slavery and it shows that slavery was really bad and that the slaves were really desperate and that there was no hope and no way out.
The beautifully shot landscapes defiantly shows conflict between the representations of the South and the cruelty of slavery that occurs because slavery is the complete opposite of the location in where the film was set. It is very contradicting and it makes slavery invisible because of the beautiful landscapes around it.
With the whipping of Patsey scene it shows that slavery was considered normal during that time and that Epps doesn't see the black people as people and humans but as animals/property as well as not people like them.
When Solomon returns to his family he doesn't show happiness because he feels like he has let his family down and that he has also missed the years with his family and his children growing up, and just generally feels that he has missed a huge part of his life (12 years). And the fact that he has waited ages to see them too.
When the slaves were often shown wandering between plantations without apparent surveillance this suggests that a) That the slave owners made sure that the slaves knew the consequences if they did escape and not make it. And b) The mindset of the slaves is already installed in how they should behave and what they should do/not do.
I think that the overall film is a great portrayal of slavery because it shows more than just one perspective and one thing about slavery such as families being apart, it also shows children in slavery and what the life of slavery would have been like in general. The film is really good in how it starts with the black man free, equal and normal and the same as any other free man, whether they are black or white, but then the rest of the film shows him a slave, and this is good because it shows how cruel slavery really was.