The premiere of Intolerance at the Liberty Theatre in New York on September 5th, 1916 astonished critics and audience alike. During over three hours of screening, they had witnessed four stories set in different centuries but linked by a common theme. The episodes depicted the fall of Babylon, the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, the massacre of the Huguenots in France in the 16th century and a workers strike in the early 20th century, and they all were linked by the recurring image of Lillian Gish rocking the cradle of time before the eyes of the three Fates. Director D. W. Griffith had made an ambitious film that connected various artistic traditions, developed the crosscut technique and expressed the ideological conflict between tradition and anti-capitalism. The film consolidated him as an «author» and confirmed his beliefs about film as a possible tool for social change.
Intolerance, D. W. Griffith, The Birth of a Nation, cross-cutting