Amistad

I thought Amistad was a great and very emotional movie. Steven Spielberg did a great job showing the plight of the Africans during that time period (or so we popularly believe). In the very beginning of the movie, the audience is given the impression that Africans are primitive savages, especially the riveting scene where Cinque kills the captain of the slave ship: (20 seconds into the clip)

They are shown to be wearing nothing but loincloths, screaming like primitive creatures shedding “white” blood: they are portrayed as uncivilized beasts. The impression I got throughout the movie is that the Africans were considered property to everyone but Matthew McConaughey and his associates. They were trying to show that they were humans who were extricated through force and are not property. They were treated as if they were uncivilized objects throughout the whole movie. But, I did some how see this progression that suggested the Africans became civilized after their journey: When they leave the country to go back to Africa, they are shown to be wearing clothing (specifically white shirts) while on the boat. We also see that throughout the movie, the African men start to wear more and more clothing, suggesting that they were taught how to be a civilized race (or so the West believes them uncivilized). The first thing I thought when I saw the ending scene was Christ is going to the light: Christ being Cinque with his followers, going towards the sun. They came into the movie Black and dark but are now leaving pure and “white” (the shirts). 

I thought it was interesting that John Quincy Adams talked about the Natural State of Man in his court room argument (I’m taking Intro to Legal Theory as well). About two hours and thirteen minutes into the movie, Adams states that the Natural State of Man is Freedom/Liberty: Locke’s view of mankind. But he also states that the South believes that “war and antagonism are the Natural States of Man” : this is Hobbes’ view of mankind. I thought it was quite strange because Hobbes does not state any belief in slavery/subordination in the Natural State of Man (South view) but Locke suggests that there can be subordination in man’s natural state (North view).

 

What was up with the flowers?

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