Spielberg film of slave revolt hits home
One of the country’s most respected commentators on Russia, the EU and the US, Mary Dejevsky has worked as a foreign correspondent all over the world, including Washington, Paris and Moscow. She is now the chief editorial writer and a columnist at The Independent and regularly appears on radio and television. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Buckingham.
Wednesday 03 December 1997
Amistad tells the true story of a mutiny on board the slave ship Amistad in 1839, the ship's subsequent capture off Long Island, and the eventual United States legal ruling that vindicates the slaves and sets them free.
Like so many of Spielberg's films, Amistad is guaranteed to strike a chord with the American public. It is already predicted that it could be a Schindler's List for the African diaspora. The curiosity about slavery has grown recently with suggestions that President Bill Clinton might issue a formal apology for the treatment of slaves.
Amistad, which is reported to be unstinting in its depiction of the suffering endured by slaves, offers a solution of a kind. By depicting the early US as a state of law, in which principled individuals - in this case, John Quincy Adams - were prepared to stand up fo the right to freedom, even of those sold into slavery, Spielberg keeps the constitutional ideal of the US intact.
That it took the best part of 30 years, and a civil war, before the ideal and reality were brought into accord is what is seen as evil, not the essence of the US.
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence: Despite defeat history may still point to Alex Salmond as the victor
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish referendum: Police struggle to control Unionist rally in Glasgow's George Square
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...
£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...
£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...