On Friday 24th at 5pm we have Steve McQueen’s film 12 YEARS A SLAVE (2h14mins)
An adaptation of the 1853 slave memoir Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, a New York State-born free African-American man who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C., by two conmen in 1841 and sold into slavery. Northup was put to work on plantations in the state of Louisiana for 12 years before being released. The first scholarly edition of Northup's memoir, co-edited in 1968 by Sue Eakin and Joseph Logsdon, carefully retraced and validated the account and concluded it to be accurate. Other characters in the film were also real people, including Edwin and Mary Epps, and Patsey.
12 Years a Slave received widespread critical acclaim and was named the best film of 2013 by several media outlets and critics. The film received nine Academy Award nominations, winning three: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Nyong'o. The Best Picture win made McQueen the first black British producer to ever receive the award and the first black British director of a Best Picture winner. The film was awarded the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts recognized it with the Best Film and the Best Actor award for Ejiofor.
Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 95% of critics gave the film a positive rating, with the site's consensus stating, "It's far from comfortable viewing, but 12 Years a Slave's unflinchingly brutal look at American slavery is also brilliant – and quite possibly essential – cinema." Metacritic, another review aggregator, assigned the film a weighted average score of 96 out of 100 based on 57 reviews from mainstream critics, indicating "universal acclaim". It is currently one of the site's highest-rated films, as well as the best-reviewed film of 2013.
Richard Corliss of TIME wrote: "McQueen's film is closer in its storytelling particulars to such 1970s exploitation-exposés of slavery as Mandingo and Goodbye, Uncle Tom. Except that McQueen is not a schlockmeister sensationalist but a remorseless artist". Corliss draws parallels with Nazi Germany, saying, "McQueen shows that racism, aside from its barbarous inhumanity, is insanely inefficient. It can be argued that Nazi Germany lost the war both because it diverted so much manpower to the killing of Jews and because it did not exploit the brilliance of Jewish scientists in building smarter weapons. So the slave owners dilute the energy of their slaves by whipping them for sadistic sport and, as Epps does, waking them at night to dance for his wife's cruel pleasure." Gregory Ellwood of HitFix gave the film an "A-" rating, stating, "12 Years is a powerful drama driven by McQueen's bold direction and the finest performance of Chiwetel Ejiofor's career." He continued by praising the performances of Fassbender and Nyong'o, citing Nyong'o as "the film's breakthrough performance’’. He also admired the film's "gorgeous" cinematography and the musical score, as "one of Hans Zimmer's more moving scores in some time". Paul MacInnes of The Guardian scored the film five out of five stars, writing, "Stark, visceral and unrelenting, 12 Years a Slave is not just a great film but a necessary one." The Guardian's Andrew Pulver said, in 2017, that 12 Years a Slave is "one of the most important films about the African-American experience ever".
Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly praised it as "a new movie landmark of cruelty and transcendence" and as "a movie about a life that gets taken away, and that's why it lets us touch what life is". He also commented very positively about Ejiofor's performance, while further stating, "12 Years a Slave lets us stare at the primal sin of America with open eyes, and at moments it is hard to watch, yet it's a movie of such humanity and grace that at every moment, you feel you're seeing something essential. It is Chiwetel Ejiofor's extraordinary performance that holds the movie together, and that allows us to watch it without blinking. He plays Solomon with a powerful inner strength, yet he never soft-pedals the silent nightmare that is Solomon's daily existence."
On the 1st of every month, we send out our "Events Mailer", highlighting all the events taking place in and around Montagu for that month. Be sure to subscribe not to miss out on important events.
Do you have an upcoming event in or around Montagu? ADD YOUR EVENT