How Ava DuVernay Restages History in “Origin”

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Ava DuVernay’s sprawling film “Origin,” an adaptation of the journalist and historian Isabel Wilkerson’s book “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” spans the globe and bounces through time to illustrate its central thesis—that there exists a hierarchical social structure which determines people’s status and power. In this video, DuVernay breaks down a key scene in her film in which she re-created the Opernplatz book burning of 1933. She discusses why she felt compelled to film at the actual site of the incident, since renamed Bebelplatz; why she chose to shoot on 16-mm. film; and the connection that this scene has to book-banning movements in the United States today. ♦


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