ByAbi Toll, writer at
Abi Toll

Indiewire have reported that a new fight has entered the ring and this time it's the battle of the Heavyweights.

Whilst 's 12 Years A Slave has been met with almost ubiquitous critical acclaim, regardless of its challenging brutality, it has unsurprisingly thrown a spotlight onto last year's slavery-themed film Django Unchained.

Indiewire commented that regardless of 's Django not being entirely established in reality, he continued to publicly diss the respected representation of slavery in 'the 1970s PBS mini-series Roots'.

Here is what he told News Week, according to Indiewire:

When you look at 'Roots', nothing about it rings true in the storytelling, and none of the performances ring true for me either.

I didn’t see it when it first came on, but when I did I couldn’t get over how oversimplified they made everything about that time. It didn’t move me because it claimed to be something it wasn’t.

Queue the fighting talk: , known as the lead, Kunta Kinte in Roots, naturally had a large dose of vitriol to throw back at Tarantino:

Django Unchained is a fantasy, let’s be clear.

According to Indiewire, Burton told New York magazine:

When Quentin Tarantino says that 'Django' is more real than 'Roots,' I call bullshit. I got nothing against him, but don’t go there, okay? Don’t go there, Quentin. Too many people who look like me bled and died for you to have the opportunity to satirize the slave narrative. There’s a place for satire in culture. Taken at face value, as a piece of satire, I went and enjoyed it. It was fun. Let’s just not get it twisted. 'Django' was not real.

And how about Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave?:

... there’s a lot of resistance to revisiting this issue. I’ve heard disquieting chatter on both sides of the color line. Why do we have to revisit this again? Well, we have to revisit this again because all of us have forgotten.

The bottom line for me is if one soul is moved irrevocably toward the side of humanity, then it’s worth it.

Burton continued:

Steve McQueen is a brilliant storyteller, and he’s taken a very difficult subject and told it in a very accessible, however difficult, way. It’ll be interesting if anybody is bothered to book a theater in certain locales—certain territories, as they say.

Always a divisive and fraught topic when approached through a filmic medium, the slavery narrative has a long and enduring legacy which will continue to be revisited. But whose opinion do you find yourself siding with on this occasion? We'd be interested to know your thoughts.



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