News and Features

The Big Screen: ‘12 Years A Slave’

This week, Dallas Morning News movie critic Chris Vognar and I talk about the film that was the toast of the Toronto International Film Festival: 12 Years a Slave. The latest from British director Steve McQueen is based on Solomon Northup’s experience as a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841. We asked UT-Arlington film professor Ya’Ke Smith to join our discussion. And he told us the reasons why he thinks the film is noteworthy:

“I think it’s the first film that I’ve seen that really authentically captures what it was like to be a slave in America,” he says. “These characters are so complex that they really show you what it was like to be a slave, but also what it was like to be a slave master and an oversear and all these things that were going on at the time. And I think what Steve McQueen did actually very brilliantly is show the brutality, the trauma and just how difficult it was to be a slave in this country.”

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