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Join Steve McQueen at the Soho Apple Store as he discusses his new film, 12 Years a Slave, which depicts the harrowing true story of Solomon Northup. 12 Years a Slave screens as a part of the Film Comment Magazine Presents program at the 51st New York Film Festival. Moderated by Eugene Hernandez.
Steve McQueen’s courageous new film takes an unflinching close-up look at a subject that has rarely if ever been confronted with such unvarnished directness in American cinema. The film is based on the memoir of freeman Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who was abducted in Washington, D.C. in 1841 and delivered to slave trader James Burch (Paul Giamatti), bought by gentleman farmer William Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch) and later sold to cruel and mentally unbalanced cotton grower Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), a figure of both horror and pathos who comes to embody the true savagery—and insanity—of slavery. Screenwriter John Ridley, McQueen’s regular cameraman Sean Bobbitt and producer Brad Pitt (who plays Canadian carpenter Samuel Bass in the film’s final section) each make vital contributions to this difficult and troubling film, sure to reignite a dialogue on the most painful chapter in America’s still young life as a nation.