Don’t let the inspirational music fool you. As the new trailer for Sundance sensation The Birth of a Nation progresses, it shows preacher Nat Turner (director and star Nate Parker) slowly form an armed rebellion among his fellow slaves. But as cathartic as it is to see oppressed people take up arms against their foes, it’s clear that there will be no happy ending to this story.
The degradation of slavery is visible in this trailer, just as it was in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave. Turner starts out as an preacher used by his masters to calm down unruly slaves, and watches as men like him are muzzled, chained, and beaten. Eventually, Turner himself is whipped for handing something to a young white boy and then resisting his punishment. As these vicious acts pile up before his eyes, Turner transitions from preaching Peter 2:18 (“submit yourselves to your masters”) to Psalm 149 (“Let the high praise of God be in the mouths of the saints, and a two-edged sword in their hand to execute vengeance on the demonic nations. Sing to Him a new song”). With Andra Day’s “Rise Up” swelling in the background, Turner and his comrades take up arms against their masters.
The Birth of a Nation is in theaters Oct. 7. Watch the new trailer above.