Nate Parker‘s latest film “American Skin” premiered at the Venice Film Festival and was slammed by critics. The reviews were so negative the movie wasn’t even picked up for U.S. distribution. The actor is now speaking out about the response.
The Hollywood Reporter described him as “teary-eyed” as he said, “I don’t care what they say about me, what they think about me, I don’t care. I’m gonna make art for our children’s children.” He continued, “My only job as an artist is to reflect. Sometimes that reflection isn’t an image people want to see, but I’m an artist so I try to stay away.”
He continued, “I’m not here to make a headline. I have five daughters and if I’m really blessed they will marry five great men, they’ll have children, inevitably they’ll have boys and they will look like me. If they are no more safe in their time than I am in this time I have failed as a human being, I have failed as a father and I’ve failed as an artist. I don’t want to get involved in anything that takes away from the urgency of that.”
He also added, “I don’t know what I’ll do next but you can bet that whatever, that with everything in my soul I’m going to use my art to address things that need attention.”
IndieWire’s David Ehrlich wrote about “American Skin,” “Nate Parker’s value as a filmmaker has just been settled once and for all: He doesn’t have any. An unsolicited coda to a career that most of us assumed was already over, ‘American Skin’ is an asinine and self-serving call to action that tries to hide its basic incompetence behind a veil of righteous fury.”
The Wrap wrote, “Clunky, heavy-handed film that takes a pressing contemporary issue and flattens it under two genres the writer-director seems ill-equipped to handle — the mockumentary and the courtroom drama.” And also added, “The issue of police shootings and racial profiling deserves more sensitive and more intelligent treatment than ‘American Skin,’ which combines the worst features of a clumsy ’12 Angry Men’ knock-off and a direct-to-DVD thriller.
The Guardian said the film was “saddled with a clunky, schematic conceit.”
Parker last film “The Birth of a Nation,” was met with backlash after the graphic details of his 1999 rape trial resurfaced. He was acquitted of all charges but his roommate and co-writer of “Birth of a Nation” Jean Celestin was found guilty of sexual assault. He was sentenced to six months of prison but appealed the verdict and was granted a new trial in 2005. However, the case never return to court after the victim did not want to testify again.
Nate Parker was accused of being insensitive when talking about the rape trial. At the time, he said he always understood when a woman said no, but also says that at 19 his mind frame centered around how far a woman would let him go.
The rape accuser committed suicide in 2012. In 2016, her brother told Variety, “If I were to look back at her very short life and point to one moment where I think she changed as a person, it was obviously that point.” He added, “I think by today’s legal standards, a lot has changed with regards to universities and the laws in sexual assault. I feel certain if this were to happen in 2016, the outcome would be different than it was. Courts are a lot stricter about this kind of thing. You don’t touch someone who is so intoxicated — period.”