Roots (1977) is an American television miniseries. This film is based on Alex Haley’s novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family (1976). The film was highly awarded: 37 Emmy Award nominations and nine received, Golden Globe, Peabody Award. There are eight episodes that represent all difficulties of that colonial period.
The first part of the film indicates the beginning of the colonial chaos. In the first scene, Binta Kinte gave birth to a very strong and smiling boy. The whole atmosphere was penetrated by her shout. It was a new accent after the peaceful overview of the natural world. The housefather Omoro Kinte was standing nervously outside the hut. Later, he was in great doubt how to call his son. Kunta Kinta was the best for such a great boy.
Kunta was growing up very quickly. He became very popular in his village. Everyone loved him greatly. He knew a lot of stories from his Grandma Yaisa.
Then the whole village was stuck in starvation and epidemic on account of heavy and lingering rains. Hopefully, everything went right.
Later on Kunta got a brother, called Lamin. He began to practice hunting and different home-training lessons. Not everything was clear to him, and he made many mistakes.
As times passed, Kunta found out about so dangerous “toubob and their black slate helpers, who would crawl through the tall grass to grab people and take them off to a distant place where they were eaten”. Kunta with his fellows were trained by arafang, who said all the time “You are no longer children, and you have responsibilities, see to it that you fulfill them”.
Unfortunately, that did not help. The slavers took Kunta and some more people on the boat and delivered to the ship. There Kunta met a very rude treatment. He had a terrible dream where he hunted on the white huge bird, which was flying from one river bank to another, and when it swallowed him, he wake up, and understood that he was inside this bird’s belly. Kunta had nothing to do with it, till his arafang encouraged him and others. They shouted “we will be one village, we will kill white people, we will live, live”.
The book Roots was a starting line for the further screening. It is widely known that there must be some similarities and differences between the book and the film. The film cannot transmit all the take soundings written in the book. At the same time, the film transform some moments in a special way, peculiar only to it.
The fundamental pattern of both the film and the book is similar. The characters and the main events are described particularly. The theme is devoted to the political, racial, social and cultural inconsistency.
These two works raise the common desire to the faith and truth. They show that all generations should discuss these problems. A great number of debates take places all around the world. Alex Haley, author of the book, was faithful to his native country, so he wrote in preface “I dedicate Roots as a birthday offering to my country within which most of Roots happened”.
Mainly, the book exceeds the amount of events in this story. The film has a limited possibility to explain and demonstrate all printed occasions. In some aspects, spectator’s imagination is effected greatly than the reader’s perception. Fortunately, seeing the film increases the reader’s understanding of the book.
The chronology is consistent in both works. Examined chapters, which are equal to the first part of the movie, are intended for the brought up free generation. “Each generation must make up its own mind about how it will navigate the treacherous waters of our nation’s racial sin”.
Slavery was widely practiced throughout the American colonies. The slaves were used for the creation of a new society. That free labor force planned the new economic world. American history was highly influenced by that heinous crime.
According to the slavery system, all Black people had the common class position. Being a slave meant that a person had no property and no rights at all. They even did not have any right for themselves. There existed one differentiation between slaves. Some slaves worked at homes, and others in the fields. Their work can differ between the house and production work in the fields. Those, who worked in agriculture, had fewer contact with white people. Slaves, who were in house services made closer contacts to their masters. In such a way, the class distinction between black people started. The lighter color of skin, the higher class position they held.
Both the book and the film Roots portray the most vital colonial lawlessness. It enhances and intensifies the reaction of the lookers. The underlined danger even inside your native village is awesome “But you are not safe even inside the village gates”. In one scene, we observe how the white commander is stuffed with all kinds of food, whereas the slaves in some periods have no bit. Slaves lived in an endless sense of fear “so frightened was Lamin by his father’s talks of slave-taking and white cannibals that he awakened Kunta several times with his bad dreams”.
Nowadays there are many cases of hidden slavery in America. Lost in the cruel world, they are obliged to work without any charge.
Alex Haley determined in his book how the vast majority of African Heritage was lost during the Middle Passage. Being shipped unexpectedly, people had no time to save any cultural patrimony. People were isolated from their relatives and friends. No old generation could pass its knowledge to the new one. The world-wide disparity created such Lost Generation.