|Thomas Jefferson: A View from the Mountain
A film by Martin Doblmeier
109 minutes, documentary, color, English, 2004
A story that tears at the heart of America, this critically acclaimed documentary from the director of Bonhoeffer explores Thomas Jefferson and his personal and public dilemma about race and slavery.
For centuries people have asked how it was possible that the man who wrote the creed for America, declaring that "all men are created equal and entitled to the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," could also live his life as a slaveholder. A View from the Mountain confronts this paradox and also highlights recent DNA tests that indicate he had an affair and offspring with a house slave, Sally Hemings.
The documentary also brings Jefferson's words and ideas to life through dozens of original handwritten letters, excerpts from original manuscripts, deeds of slave manumission, period newspapers, his will, political cartoons, and every known image of Jefferson painted during his lifetime.
A host of acclaimed performers lend their voices to the film, including Edward Herrmann, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, and Robert Prosky. The readings complement interviews with noted historians including Pulitzer Prize winner Gordon Wood, civil rights leader Julian Bond, former congresswoman Barbara Jordan, U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Mary Francis Berry, and many others.
"Elegant and well-told." - USA Today
"Brings Jefferson somehow closer to us." - Los Angeles Times
"Impressive, deftly handled." - Washington Post
"Scrupulously researched and carefully balanced." - Associated Press
"Beautifully made. Casts an unblinking eye on Jefferson's often painful, contradictory and shifting views about race and slavery." - Charlottesville Daily Progress
● Interview with Dr. Gene Foster, who conducted the DNA studies on Jefferson and Sally Hemings