Movie Moles: 12 Years a Slave


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Air date: 
Mon, 12/09/2013 - 12:00am
A politically-oriented review of 12 Years a Slave
Frann Michel and her guest, Lynn MaKau, review the film "12 Years A Slave". Directed by Steve McQueen, John Ridley's screenplay adapts Solomon Northrup's own 1853 account of being deceived and capture by slavers while living as a free-born African in upstate New York. Northrup, played by Chiwitel Ejiofor, ultimately spends 12 years on Louisiana plantations, sometimes performing hard labor and othertimes using his cultivated skills and intellect, but is stripped of his name and forced to answer to Platt, while also enduring unspeakable inhumanity against himself and other slaves.

Lynn teaches in the English department at Willamette University and has a particular interest in (neo)slave narratives. She and Frann consider a number of things. For one thing, there's the charge of its over-done violence made by some reviewers. They conclude that it is a violent film, but in precisely the way such a story ought to be and that it actually allows for the recuperation of the sufferers' dignity. At one point, they compare it to the violence of Quentin Tarentino's "Django Unchained", which we have covered on the Old Mole before. They look long and hard at how labor and class show up in the world of the antebellem US, considering the class position of Northrup himself and the way that black class dvisions and the violence employed to maintain/exploit  them can be recognized in modern mangerial science. Tune in to hear more!

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