African actors Lupita Nyong’o & Chiwetel Ejiofor play Patsey and Solomon in ’12 Years A Slave’.

African are taking over Hollywood,  British -Nigerian actor Chiwetel Ejiofor plays the principal role of Solomom Northup. Alone side him is Mexican born Kenya actresses Lupita Nyong’o who  plays Patsey.

The story it tells, a true one, is horrifying: In 1841, Solomon Northup, a free, educated black man from Saratoga, New York, was kidnapped, sold into slavery, and transported to Louisiana. His captivity lasted 12 years. To survive, he had to hide the fact that he could read and write, which prevented him from contacting not just his wife and children, but also any of his friends in the North who might have helped him.

 

Chewetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup in '12 Years a Slave' (Photo: Fox Searchlight)

Northup recounted his story in 12 Years a Slave, a piercing memoir published in 1853. The title alone is austere and direct, almost painfully elegant, and that must have been the effect McQueen was going for, too. His interpretation of 12 Years a Slave is beautifully shot (by Sean Bobbitt), contrasting the all-too-visible evil of mankind with the occasional ribbon of pretty sky peeking through the Louisiana trees.

Solomon Northup depicted in film, left, and in print

 

The film Director McQueen is also known for provocative films like Hunger, about a hunger strike at a prison in Northern Ireland.

 

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