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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 21 March 2014
Left a lasting impression on me when it was a T.V. series, & it was good to be reminded of it on DVD.
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on 30 September 2010
This TV mini-series has become a classic in some twenty or thirty years and it deserves to be, both in its first part and in its second part. Yet the quality of the filming and editing has aged and the film is not served by the fact it was done for television that tends to show too many close-ups and to avoid vast rapid movements and wide landscapes. But it has become a classic by the theme it deals with.
The first mini series deals with the fate of black people from when they were captured in Africa to their liberation after the Civil War. The vision of Africa in the 18th century is slightly improved on what it was. Some rituals are nicely evoked but not shown, circumcision for example, and nothing is said about excision for the girls. The capturing of Bantu blacks in western Africa and their enslaving had been going on for centuries. The new thing is that the captured Bantu blacks were no longer sold as slaves to the northern Moslem tribes or even Moslem Maghreb people, but to the whites for only one reason: the whites paid better and more. This is not done out of decency. It seems to be done in order to avoid any rejection for the family public, any restrictive rating. It is the same thing with the whole period about slavery. The film concentrates on odious facts but all together rather limited facts: one whipping, a couple of children sold, very few rapes by the whites in order to produce mulattos that could be sold for a profit. The hardships of field work are also curbed a lot. The living conditions and quarters were quite luxurious when we know what it really was. Even the Civil War is shown with a lot of reserve. They may say the number of dead but they don't show the battles, the medical care of the wounded, the savagery of the war itself and the innumerable amputees and other victims after the war. Altogether the first part is rather tamed. That of course enhances the main theme of this first part, and also of the second part, the fact that one has to retain the memory of one's origins, roots, past, even if it is only a name, a few words, a few episodes. It is those recollections passed from one generation to the next that feed and strengthen the sense of belonging, the hope that will bring the future out of the present, the light that may one day illuminate the dull and dark present. One day at a time but always with the past in the conscious background. And the joy of the liberation is important, but the first part ends on a closure too: the whites are still there and the blacks have to live with them and compromises are not always easy to find and not always to the real benefit of the blacks. Slavery is replaced by sharecropping but what's the difference when the black sharecroppers start with the debts that are attributed to them to pay for what they need to work and they should get free since they worked for nothing for decades. That's how it works with the whites in the South, and yet the family we are speaking of managed to finagle a plan to get the mules free and to move out without paying for the debts of slavery from North Carolina to Tennessee where one freed member who got the chance to make some wealth in England had bought some land. That's the real freedom this family achieves after the Civil war: to possess the land they till and thus the harvest they grow.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, University Paris 8 Saint Denis, University Paris 12 Créteil, CEGID
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on 24 February 2014
for enjoiy again and again from the start to finish and see more than one time this gre story thanks
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on 14 December 2014
I haven't watched Roots or Downton Abby,
Yet will over the Christmas holidays
Thank you
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on 30 December 2012
bought to replace a set lost in a house move - every home should own both this set and series two
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on 6 January 2013
I remember being fascinated by this series as a child growing up in the seventies- particularly as it had a few naughty bits in it. I'm afraid that the whole thing, including the naughty bits has lost it interest. Whilst the story remains as relevant as ever, the TV epic mini series thing comes across as really naff and the writing and production values seem almost laughable now. Probably a good candidate for a remake.
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on 29 January 2015
Good film to while away the hours. Entertainment for most ages. Good price and fast delivery.
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on 9 May 2015
Not for me this one but I understand it was a well received programme. My wife loved it.
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on 4 January 2013
Birthday present, really enjoyed thanks for a top service ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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on 9 January 2016
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