Page 1

(Inspiration) Research  (American  History  X)  (1998)     In  my  final  major  production  I  am  thinking  of  using  a  black  and  white   technique  in  a  narration  style  short  film,  in  my  film  I  watched  and   analyzed    the  use  of  black  and  white   Derek  Vinyard  (Edward  Norton)  becomes  a  neo-­‐Nazi  after  his  firefighter   father  (William  Russ),  himself  a  racist,  is  murdered  by  black  drug  dealers.   Eventually  Derek  becomes  second-­‐in-­‐command  of  a  street  gang,  The  D.O.C.   (Disciples  of  Christ),  and  leads  them  in  terrorizing  minorities  in  their   community.  One  evening  during  a  family  dinner,  Derek  and  his  girlfriend   Stacey  (Fairuza  Balk)  get  into  a  heated  argument  about  the  Rodney  King   riots  with  his  mother's  new  boyfriend  Murray  (Elliott  Gould)  and  throw   him  out  of  the  house.  His  irate  and  upset  mother  asks  Derek  himself  to   pack  up  and  leave,  to  which  Derek  replies  that  he's  out  in  the  morning;   upon  hearing  this,  Stacey  says  that  Derek  can  stay  at  her  place.  Later  that   night,  Derek's  younger  brother  Danny  (Edward  Furlong)  informs  Derek   that  three  Crips  members  are  outside  the  house,  attempting  to  steal   Derek's  truck.  Derek  runs  outside  and  opens  fire  on  the  Crips,  killing  one  of   them,  and  curb  stomps  another.  He  is  arrested  and  convicted  of  voluntary   manslaughter,  and  sentenced  to  three  years  at  the  California  Institution  for   Men  in  Chino.[3]   In  the  prison,  he  joins  the  Aryan  Brotherhood.  After  about  a  year,  he   becomes  disillusioned  with  the  gang,  especially  over  the  group's  friendly   dealings  with  a  Mexican  prison  gang  member,  and  their  trafficking  in   narcotics.  His  objections  are  rejected  by  the  other  white  supremacists.   Derek  also  develops  a  friendly  rapport  with  black  prison  inmate  Lamont   (Guy  Torry.  His  fellow  neo-­‐Nazis  take  notice  of  this  and  savagely  beat  and   rape  him  in  the  shower.   While  recovering  from  the  attack,  Derek  is  visited  by  his  black  former  high   school  English  teacher,  Dr.  Bob  Sweeney  (Avery  Brooks),  whom  he  asks  for   help  to  be  paroled.  Sweeney  informs  him  of  Danny's  continued   involvement  with  neo-­‐Nazis,  and  that  he  is  on  the  same  path  as  his  older   brother.  Sweeney  then  confides  in  Derek  that  he  hated  white  people  as  a   youth,  but  he  eventually  realized  that  hatred  is  pointless.  This  proves  a   turning  point  for  Derek,  who  further  distances  himself  from  the  Aryan   Brotherhood  and  changes  his  outlook  on  life.  He  spends  the  remainder  of   his  time  in  prison  alone,  reading  books  that  Sweeney  sends  him.  He  fears   that  the  prison's  black  inmates  will  attack  him,  but  they  leave  him  alone,   thanks  to  Lamont's  persuasion.  Finally  realizing  the  error  of  his  ways,   Derek  leaves  prison  a  changed  man.   The  morning  Derek  is  due  to  be  released  from  prison,  Danny's  history  

teacher reports  Danny  to  Sweeney,  now  the  principal,  on  account  of   Danny's  history  paper  on  Mein  Kampf.  Sweeney  convinces  the  teacher  to   give  Danny  another  chance,  and  tells  Danny  that  he  will  now  attend  a   history  class  called  "American  History  X".  For  their  first  lesson,  Dr.   Sweeney  asks  Danny  to  write  a  paper  on  the  events  leading  up  to  Derek's   incarceration.  Danny  reluctantly  agrees  after  Sweeney  threatens   expulsion.   In  the  evening,  when  Derek  returns  home,  he  finds  that  Danny  has  a  D.O.C.   tattoo  and  then  tries  to  persuade  him  to  leave  the  gang.  Later  that  night,  at   a  neo-­‐Nazi  party  which  Derek  and  Danny  are  both  attending,  Derek   confronts  and  tells  the  leader,  Cameron  Alexander  (Stacy  Keach),  that  he   and  Danny  will  no  longer  associate  with  them.  Alexander  provokes  Derek,   who  beats  him  up.  During  an  ensuing  confrontation,  Danny's  neo-­‐Nazi   friend  Seth  Ryan  (Ethan  Suplee)  runs  after  Derek  and  aims  a  pistol  at  him,   which  Derek  wrestles  from  him,  and  points  at  the  angry  crowd  before   running  away  from  the  party.  Danny  angrily  confronts  Derek,  who  tells   him  about  his  time  and  transformation  in  prison;  the  confession  seems  to   prompt  a  change  in  Danny.  Back  at  their  home  they  remove  all  the  white   power  posters  from  their  bedroom  walls.  Derek  then  takes  a  shower  and   reflects  somberly  on  his  numerous  white  power  tattoos  in  the  bathroom   mirror.   The  following  morning  Danny  finishes  his  paper,  and  Derek  gets  ready  for   a  meeting  with  his  parole  officer.  Derek  walks  Danny  to  school  before  his   meeting,  and  on  their  way  they  stop  at  a  diner  where  they  are  met  by   Sweeney  and  a  police  officer.  They  tell  Derek  that  Alexander  and  Seth  were   attacked  the  previous  night  and  have  been  hospitalized.  Derek  claims  no   knowledge  of  the  incidents,  yet  they  ask  him  for  help.  Derek  reluctantly   agrees.   At  school,  Danny  is  confronted  by  a  young  black  student  named  Little   Henry,  with  whom  he  had  a  confrontation  the  previous  day.  Little  Henry   pulls  out  a  gun  and  shoots  Danny  in  the  chest,  killing  him.  When  Derek   arrives  at  the  school,  he  runs  into  the  bathroom  and  tearfully  cradles  his   dead  brother  in  his  arms.  The  film  ends  with  Danny  narrating  part  of  his   paper,  in  which  he  quotes  the  conclusion  of  Abraham  Lincoln's  first   inaugural  address: "We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."  


Research Folder