Sunday, 7 March 2021

Birth Certificate: Rating Birth of a Nation

I mentioned in yesterday's Birth of a Nation post that I first encountered the film in the pages of Empire magazine when their September 1994 issue reported that the BBFC had awarded the Connoisseur VHS edition a 15 certificate. In addition, the Board prepared an onscreen text introduction to the film alerting viewers to the film's racist content. This edition marked the first legal release of the film since the introduction of the Video Recordings Act in 1984, previously it had had a pre-cert release in 1981 courtesy of Spectrum Video. The Empire writer evidently didn't feel the BBFC introduction was warranted but nowadays I think it only proper that this important work of Cinema be openly acknowledged as a vile and deceitful film. Such things are helpful too in placating those who would consign the film to oblivion. Currently the Masters of Cinema and BFI Blu-Ray editions are no longer available to purchase on Amazon UK which is an ominous sign. Will Gone With the Wind be unavailable one day I wonder ? Thankfully Griffith's film can still be ordered direct from the labels.

Birth of a Nation (Empire magazine, September 1994)

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