Nightjohn

  • 96'
  • USA
  • 1996
Nightjohn was originally made for television and based on a children's book by Gary Paulsen. The film tells the story of the slave Nightjohn, who attacked the slave laws prior to the American Civil War. After her mother is sold, Sarny, a young slave girl, is brought up by the strong slave woman Delie. The tightly-knit slave community is Sarny's only family. At the age of 12, she starts work as a servant for the wife of the plantation owner. She is burdened by the heavy work until a new slave, Nightjohn, appears on the scene. Nightjohn is a difficult slave, a problem for the whites. One night, Nightjohn asks Sarny if he can buy a little tobacco from her - Sarny has to chew tobacco and spit it over the rose bushes to combat the insects. In exchange, Nightjohn teaches her to read, an exchange that will change Sarny's life for good. When Delie finds out, she reprimands Nightjohn, afraid of being punished by the plantation owner Waller. Nightjohn says that he has tasted freedom, but returned to the slave community to share his knowledge.Nightjohn fits in with the rest of the oeuvre of Charles Burnett (his To Sleep With Anger was screened in 1991 in Rotterdam), which tackles the abuses suffered by the black population of the USA.
Directors
Charles Burnett, Charles Burnett
Premiere
International premiere
Country of production
USA
Production Year
1996
Festival Edition
IFFR 1997
Length
96'
Medium
35mm
Language
English
Producer
Hallmark Entertainment
Sales
Hallmark Entertainment