amistad character analysis
Amistad is the name of a slave ship traveling from Cuba to the U.S. in 1839. 3 interactive class activities to energize your online classroom Sept. 11, 2020. "[11], The film earned $44,229,441 at the box office in the United States, debuting at No. They don't speak a word of English, and it seems like they are doomed to die for killing their captors when an abolitionist lawyer decides to take their case, arguing that they were free citizens of another country and not slaves at all. And another sequence in which the mechanics of the slave trade are examined, as Africans capture members of enemy tribes and sell them to slave traders. The moments of greatest emotion in “Amistad” stand outside the main story. The cause is supported by two Boston abolitionists, a former slave named Joadson (Morgan Freeman) and an immigrant named Tappan (Stellan Skarsgard). The case was ultimately resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1841. [2] Foner wrote: In fact, the Amistad case revolved around the Atlantic slave trade — by 1840 outlawed by international treaty — and had nothing whatsoever to do with slavery as a domestic institution. Slavery itself is not the issue. They include a horrifying scene where, with food running low on the ship, the weaker captives are chained together and thrown over the side to drown so that more food will be left for the rest. Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. Despite what the film suggests, the actual Supreme Court decision reversed District and Circuit decrees regarding the Africans' conveyance back to Africa; they were to be deemed free, but the U.S. government could not take them back to Africa, as they had arrived on American soil as free people. La Amistad is a slave ship transporting captured Africans from Spanish Cuba to the United States in 1839. | Consequently, seeking to make the case more personal, on the advice of former American president (and lawyer) John Quincy Adams, Baldwin and Joadson find James Covey, a former slave who speaks both Mende and English. Blog. Based on the true story of a significant moment during America's slave trade, this movie shows the saga of an 1839 mutiny aboard the slave ship, Amistad. One of the astonishing facts revealed in Steven Spielberg's “Amistad” is that seven of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices in 1839 were slave-owning Southerners. [9], In 2014, the movie was one of several discussed by Noah Berlatsky in The Atlantic in an article concerning white savior narratives in film, calling it 'sanctimonious drivel. [...] "Schindler's List" works better as narrative because it is about a risky deception, while "Amistad" is about the search for a truth that, if found, will be small consolation to the millions of existing slaves. The genre is that of a courtro… The film opens on the ship Amistad, where Cinque (Djimon Hounsou) is able to free himself from shackles and release his fellow prisoners. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free. As the ship is crossing from Cuba to the U.S., Cinque, who was a tribal leader in Africa, leads a mutiny and takes over the ship. I really did. The two men who bought them are spared, and promise to guide the ship back to Africa. Much of the story revolves a courtroom drama as lawyers for the slaves seek their freedom and return home. Despite refusing to help when the case was initially presented, Adams agrees to assist with the case. [12], Amistad was nominated for Academy Awards in four categories: Best Supporting Actor (Anthony Hopkins), Best Original Dramatic Score (John Williams), Best Cinematography (Janusz Kamiński), and Best Costume Design (Ruth E. Instead, the navigators misdirect the Africans and sail directly north to the east coast of the United States, where the ship is stopped by the American Navy, and the surviving Africans imprisoned as runaway slaves. Instead, they are taken to Connecticut, where they are brought to trial for murder. As a result, the movie doesn't have the emotional charge of Spielberg's earlier film — or of "The Color Purple," which moved me to tears. The story of Cinque certainly deserves more attention in textbooks, but it is not an ideal story to make into a film; Nat Turner would have been a better choice for Spielberg. Slavery could, I suppose, be seen largely as a matter of laws and property--at least to those benefitting from it. Joseph Cinqué, a leader of the Africans, leads a mutiny and takes over the ship. It was the year when a terrible rebellion took place on board the Spanish ship La Amistad, which transported slaves. This legal distinction is not made as clear as it could have been; the international slave trade had been outlawed by treaties by 1839, the year of the landmark Amistad incident, but those who were already slaves remained the property of their masters--as did their children. He learns enough of Western civilization to see its contradictions, as in a scene where a fellow captive uses an illustrated Bible to explain how he can identify with Jesus. The Lomboko slave fortress is liberated by the Royal Marines under the command of Captain Fitzgerald. Both films are about the ways good men try to work realistically within an evil system to spare a few of its victims. Two Naval officers, Thomas R. Gedney, and Richard W. Meade, claim them as salvage while the two Spanish navigators, Pedro Montez and Jose Ruiz, produce proof of purchase. Secretary of State John Forsyth, on behalf of President Martin Van Buren (who is campaigning for re-election), represents the claim of the Spanish government[a] that the Africans are property of Spain based on a treaty. At the Supreme Court, he makes an impassioned and eloquent plea for their release, and is successful. Synopsis Schindler's strategies are ingenious and suspenseful, and lead to a more gripping and powerful film than the legal tactics in “Amistad,” where lawyers in powdered wigs try to determine the origin of men whose language they do not speak. What is most valuable about “Amistad” is the way it provides faces and names for its African characters, whom the movies so often make into faceless victims. "[8] Roger Ebert awarded the film three out of four stars, writing: "Amistad," like Spielberg's "Schindler's List," is [...] about the ways good men try to work realistically within an evil system to spare a few of its victims. Holabird contends that Cinque could have been made a debt slave by his fellow Sierra Leoneans. Analysis Of The Movie ' Amistad ' 960 Words | 4 Pages “Amistad” was released in 1997 on the territory of the United States of America.The historical period, portrayed in the film, is the year of 1839. Instead, when they reach the United States, they are imprisoned as runaway slaves. They rise up against the Spanish crew of the ship, which is taking them from a Havana slave market to another destination in Cuba. Slavery could, I suppose, be seen largely as a matter of laws and property--at least to those benefitting from it. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism. One day, fifty captives were thrown overboard. 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