In the film Django Unchained the character Stephen is fashioned in the image of the imaginary Tom, the faithful Uncle of Birth of a Nation (1915)…an enduring myth of the Old South that still permeates American folklore.
Django Unchained, director Quentin Tarantino’s ode to 1970s Blaxploitation flicks and the famed Italian spaghetti westerns of the same name, tells the story of the freed slave Django (Jamie Foxx) who goes on an orgy of revenge killings to rescue his wife Brunhilda (Kerry Washington) from her sadistic owner. Set in the American South two years before the Civil War, Django (though in many ways a western) is rooted in slavery–it is the film’s backdrop, the driving force behind the plot and what creates both heroes and villains of its main characters. Yet the slavery of Django bears only a passing resemblance to the slavery of our national past. Rather, it is the slavery of popular folklore, social mythology and age-old Hollywood caricatures–the slavery of our imaginations.
A lengthy post for a lengthy film. As always, spoilers.