The Birth of a Nation arrives as a tangle of controversy and hype, a movie glowing faintly from within.
Nate Parker's telling of Nat Turner's slave rebellion debuted to an ecstatic reception (and Oscar buzz) at this year's Sundance Film Festival. In the months since, Parker has been haunted by sexual assault allegations from his past. Rape culture, police brutality, Black Lives Matter – all these issues seem to intersect with the film and its creator in a jumble that's difficult to parse. But if any aspect of The Birth of a Nation survives the controversy in a lasting way, it may be the impact of its title.