Few movies have benefitted from dropping at exactly the right moment as actor/screenwriter/director Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation is poised to. An epic telling of the story of black freedom fighter Nat Turner (October 2, 1800 – November 11, 1831), Birth was the most buzzed about film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, leading to an intense, record-breaking bidding war. Scheduled for an October 7 release date, the film is sure to be both controversial and the subject of endless think pieces, coming in the wake of a bloody string of high-profile deaths of black people – men, women, and children – at the hands of American police.
The new poster for the film is modeled on Laurie Cooper’s painting ‘Black Man in America,” which shows a black man with a noose around his neck – the noose being made of the American flag. Though a lone tear slides from one eye, the look on his face is one of pure defiance. He’s marked for certain death but he’s far from defeated. In choosing Cooper’s work as his template, Parker is sending a message that is clearly intended to resonate far beyond his film.
Twitter gave a collective thumbs-up, with the response of most people best summed up by the tweet just below the film poster and Cooper’s painting.