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    Why Ava DuVernay went to Germany to burn books.

    Jonny Diamond

    December 6, 2023, 11:42am

    Showing absolute dedication to her craft (and to authenticity) Ava DuVernay recreated 1930s Nazi book burnings in the actual location they took place. For a scene in her new movie, Origin—which is inspired by Isabel Wilkerson’s book, Caste—DuVernay got special permission from German authorities (who don’t normally love this kind of thing) to fly swastikas and burn a bunch of books.

    “Don’t be afraid to ask. Be prepared to talk about why and show the plan,” DuVernay told The Wrap. The plan in question involved shooting in Berlin’s Bebelplatz, where:

    …on May 10, 1933, the German Student Union organized book burnings. Some 40,000 people crowded into the Bebelplatz square as German students wielded burning torches to create a massive bonfire of books. A memorial marks the spot today.

    Origin, which was written and directed by DuVernay, was filmed all over the world, and

    …details the life and work of Wilkerson as she was developing and writing “Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents.” In the book, Wilkerson poses the idea that caste and race aren’t synonymous or “mutually exclusive.” However, she states that the “two can and do coexist in the same culture and serve to reinforce each other.”

    The film opens in limited release December 8, and wide release January 19, 2024.

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