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Django Unchained... Dick Gregory Speaks Out... Real American Perspective

            Django is the most accurate depiction of slavery in modern history, but before I am raked over the coals, let

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me explain. 

            Going into my Django experience I didn’t really know what to expect.  I mean, I read Spike Lee’s rant but paid no heed as is my usual practice with Spike.  I also noted that my social circle seemed to be split between those who were offended and those who were thoroughly entertained.  Those impressions ever present, I tried to keep an open mind.  In doing so, I came to the following conclusions; 1) Django can be thoroughly entertaining, 2) Django can be offensive and 3) Django can be so much more.

            I believe that there are two levels at which this film can be digested.  One which will invoke either of the sentiments that my friends express and another that gives something much deeper and thus allows for enjoyment, apprehension and surprisingly, perspective. Let’s first discuss the level that I think most people are taking in this film.  We can then look at the second level, and here, in my opinion, is where the film is most valuable. 

            At its surface it is easy to see why Django is so polarizing.  Anytime slavery is the subject, emotions run high, tempers flair and arguments stir.  Django is quite entertaining, however, it is understandable why some find offense in its quirky light hearted almost mockery of the time.  If you walk into Django seeking simply to be entertained with no mind for historical accuracy or political correctness, it will go a long way to do just that.  On the other hand, if curious as to its entertainment value but, due to the subject matter, you are unable to watch so freely, you are likely to walk out of the theatre thoroughly disturbed.

            I fell into neither of these categories wholly, but each partially while also stumbling upon the real value in the film and the reason why I make this claim with conviction, “Django is the most accurate depiction of slavery in modern history.”  I make this claim not because of the accuracy of the plot, the characters or the acting but rather because of the thought process.  I believe that Django is the first in depth look into the psyche of the white slave owner and how he perceived slavery.  I do not think this was the intention but I think it was indeed the result. 

            A friend said to me in conversation about Django that, “if someone made a comical movie about the holocaust people would be up in arms.”  I agreed, but then thought further--when have the Nazis been given the opportunity?  This film about the worst crime against humanity ever committed was written and produced by a likely descendant of the crime’s perpetrator and whether accidentally or on purpose, he has given us a view that we have never seen before. 

            Why is there humor in this movie; because there was humor in slavery for many slavers.  In Django you have the good “niggers” and the bad “niggers”, the field “niggers” and the house “niggers” and even the “niggers” not good enough to be considered human but good enough to be slept with.  However, the two characters that hold the most symbolism in them are Django (Jamie Foxx) and Stephen (Samuel Jackson).  These figures represent both the dream and the nightmare of the slaver.

            On the one hand, there is Stephen, the head house “nigger”, intelligent, loyal to a fault, trustworthy, grateful and most importantly, supremely submissive to the will of his slave master.  On the other, we have Django, the Nat Turner-esque black crusader, intelligent, brazen and strong enough to rise up and bring down the institution that took so much to build (represented in this film as Candie Land).  The interactions between these dichotomous characters were key; so much so, that the director even saw fit to end the film with the destruction first of the “dream” “nigger”, followed by the institution itself  both of which represented the true antagonists in this story.

            Django is an excellent movie.  Django is a terrible movie.  However, If you see Django for what it can be, Django is, if nothing else, eye opening:  A glimpse into a Real American Perspective, and for that we should thank Mr. Quentin Jerome Tarantino (born March 27, 1963 in Knoxville, Tennessee).

 

Written By:

Kairi Al-Amin

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Comment by Sister Nena Mahasin on January 4, 2013 at 12:56am

ASA - I have not seen the film yet, but with all the controversy...I'm anxious to see it now...I'll click back with a comment of critique...once I've seen it....Love and Peace

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