For Rebirth of a Nation, hip-hop pioneer DJ Spooky brought in the Kronos Quartet to compose a music reinterpretation of D.W. Griffith’s notorious silent feature, The Birth of a Nation. Griffith wrote film history in 1915 with this epic work about the turbulent years of the American Civil War.
In film technology, Griffith was way ahead of his time, that much is still clear in this version, even though Spooky’s melancholy hip-hop symphony has a different aim: Rebirth of a Nation is a remix film that reveals the racist dimension in the source material. Whereas the black man in The Birth of a Nation is posited as hostile, intimidating and violent, Spooky sketches a different portrait using the same images. His version focuses on the frightened looks, the submissive posturing and the caricatural nature of the characters. In the spirit of hip-hop, Spooky appropriates Griffith’s notorious film material and confronts America with visual evidence of its racist heritage.

Filmmaker
DJ Spooky
Country
USA
Year
2004
Medium
File
Length
65’
Language
English
Producer
DJ Spooky
Production Company
Subliminal Kid Inc.
Sales
Sozo Artists
Writer
DJ Spooky, Anthony James, Matthew Carpenter
Editor
Anthony James, Brad Schwartz
Music
Kronos Quartet, DJ Spooky
Website
www.rebirthofanation.com