“12 Years a Slave” is riding a wave of critical raves to a likely date with the Oscars. Now, Fox Searchlight is reminding viewers of the living legacy to the powerful tale of survival, sacrifice and unspeakable hardship in the antebellum South.
A new spot for the film (below) splices together scenes depicting Northup’s struggles to endure his enslavement and to secure his release with photos of his descendants. The pictures of his great-grandchildren (four or five times over) form an arresting tableau — a stark reminder that as William Faulkner wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Sometimes, over subsequent generations, it gets mixed with hope.
The video is being released Friday, January 3rd — the day in 1853 that Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free African-American from the North kidnapped and sold into bondage, attained the freedom that was stolen from him.
From that day, in Northrup’s own words:
“The slaves, utterly confounded, stood gazing upon the scene, their open mouths and rolling eyes indicating the utmost wonder and astonishment. For ten years I had dwelt among them, in the field and in the cabin, borne the same hardships, partaken the same fare, mingled my griefs with them, participated in the same scanty joys; nevertheless, not until this hour, the last I was to remain among them, had the remotest suspicion of my true name, or the slightest knowledge of my real history been entertained by any one of them.”
Watch the video: