AMISTADDirector: Steven Speilberg
Screenwriter: David Franzioni
Amistad is a film that shows the beginning of slavery and how it all began. To my surprise, the African Americans started slavery themselves, because they traded themselves for guns, materials, food, and many other things.
Slaves were brought over on the ship, La Amistad from Cuba and tried to free themselves from their owners. The slaves killed all of the whites on their ship except for two. They did not kill these two whites because they hoped that these whites would help them find their way home, but in fact, they were still bringing them to Spain, to be used there. However, these two men led to them to the United States, where there this whole story begins. Two prominate men in New Haven, one African American, one white, finds a young lawyer willing to help them, for a low fare, try to win the slaves freedom. A difficult task to say the least, the young lawyer, Roger begins his job. The task is most difficult because there are documents to say these men belong to Queen Isabella II of Spain, and they are property of Spain because they originated in Havana, Cuba. Roger must prove this is a lie, and prove they came from Africa. Because according to the people in the United States, they were sold to and are from Spanish territory, meaning they were Spanish slaves. How strange it is that they don’t speak Spanish? Throughout the story there is constant ambition from the lawyer and these two prominent men, as they try to free these slaves who have been terribly abused by whites.
To me, Roger is the one critical character to the movie. Roger is an abolitionist, who fights for the freedom of slaves. He defines communication with the slaves, finds out their true story and helps them to be freed from rule and gives them justice. He uses his mind as well as his heart to help free the slaves. He found a way for communication between himself and the Mendee tribe, and before him no one would try to talk to them. This man was a true man who reached for his goals, and fought for what he believed in.
There are many crucial and important scenes in this movie. The most important scene to me is the scene with Roger and Cinque. Cinque is the main slave, which we come in close contact with in this movie. Roger, with the help of his translator Kai-Nyga, begins to talk to Cinque about how he got here. Roger needs to find out the truth and he struggles hard to do so. Roger finally shows him a tooth which he found on the ship, this tooth, given to Cinque from his wife, this tooth immediately brings memories to Cinque and he begins to speak of his long journey here, and how it really happened. He tells him how the slaves were treated like animals, and constantly being beaten and abused for everything, constantly chained up liked dogs to a tree, and being forced to complete impossible tasks. Cinque tells Roger that it all began in Africa where slaves began to trade slaves. And from there, they were brought to Cuba, where Queen Isabella II purchased this selected group of slaves. And then after put on a ship, the slaves killed all the whites, and tried to turn home, however were overpowered by the ocean, and landed in New Haven, which they all are now.
This story takes place in the years 1839-1842. First off, the beginning of the film tells us that is year of 1839, and that the current president is our 8th president, Martin Van Buren. He was president from 1837-1841. This was a major time in our economy because it was significantly changing. This was directly before our Civil War and the Industrial Revolution. Then, it continues into the presidency of 1842, our 9th president, William Henry Harrison.
It is absolutely disgraceful how minorities are depicted. I am truly amazed. The slaves were treated like a piece of property and not like individual respected human beings. They were thrown off boats when there were too many of them; they were fed enough food for a mouse, beaten to death even when doing nothing wrong. They define pain and suffering, because they lived through that everyday of their lives.
I give this movie a 10. I thought it was well written, because it truly depicts slavery how it was. It gives us a clear overview of what went out and how slavery started. It is something I would definitely watch again.