Here’s why my favorite movie of 2013 is “12 years a slave”…
A film about human dignity and the will to survive. Overcoming the emotions which flow through me when I talk about this movie, I am certain that I must write about it. It is a cinematographic masterpiece that deserves your attention. Based on the true story of Solomon Northup and his memoir book “Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup, citizen of New-York, kidnapped in Washington city in 1841, and rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near the Red River in Louisiana” this artwork is a revelation. A revelation about how we humans can treat each other and to what extend we can suffer. It is hard to talk about slavery, because it is not a widespread “disease” in today’s society. But every human being which feels and thinks will be touched by this story. There are many morals coming out of Steve McQueen’s work, but I guess the most important one is about how a person cannot easily forget injustice. And that’s exactly why the vile actions depicted in the story are so monstrous. But against them we are seeing the flickering hope and human dignity which illuminate the path to salvation.
I was in awe especially from the small, but significant moments of truth when Solomon stayed by himself and tried to keep his memories – who he is, that he has his loving family and ultimately about his nature as a FREE person.
Most of the movies on this tough topic in America present us the story of African American slaves after they lost their freedom, or being born without it. But here we see a man who is born a free person, who has lived all his life as a free person, who has a caring and lovely family, with respected profession, with dignity. Then we see this person’s transition from free life to slavery and at the end again back to free life. The process of breaking down a free soul is presented to us in severe details with no excuse and exception. And that is exactly why this exact story is so strong. You can’t just turn away or forget about it after time. The viewers are all free people. And to see how a man like you can end up in such a miserable condition because of other people is terrifying and frightening. I’m talking about an impression which I at least cannot distance myself from.
As spectators we are moved by the wonderful play of Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch. I only wish that by watching this true story of the survival of human dignity we embrace each other as nations and as people even more. We are all children of our planet and we all have the equal right to call ourselves FREE men and women.
It is essential to quote Brad Pitt’s character Bass at the end of this review:
“Laws change. Social systems crumble. Universal truths are constant. It is a fact, it is a plain fact that what is true and right is true and right for all.”