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You know what really doesn't matter? Historical accuracy 
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Post Re: You know what really doesn't matter? Historical accuracy
JamesKunz wrote:
thered47 wrote:
James,

What exactly would constitute "damaging" for you?

I ask as there are plenty of examples of historical presentations of minorities in films tend to do one of the following:
1) Downplay a minorities contributions to society
2) Emphasize that a particular minority is a "danger" to society, that is focus on criminal or violent acts.
3) Emphasize that a minority is weak and needs saving by a privileged member of society. Usually will focus on tragic stories where a minority is the victim of extreme violence.
4) Pretend that certain minority groups simply don't exist (arguably applies to non-fiction as well) See
Your Default Narrative Settings Are Not Apolitical for more info on that.

Often times, films in category numbers 2 and 3 aren't even that historically inaccurate. It's only (in my opinon) given the existence of #1 that they become an issue. Individually I even like many films that fall in these categories and would consider them superior examples of filmmaking (Monster, Boys Don't Cry, Swoon). Even films in category number one will often only slightly modify the historical record, but usually just enough so that the contributions of LGBTQ, people of color, etc. are obscured.

For example, De-Lovely is not that far off from the historical record so to speak, but it's invention of an epic romance in what was likely to have been a lavender marriage, while downplaying Porter's male lovers. I mean in the films defense, it does acknowledge them, which in some ways makes it better than more than 95% of what's out there but the total effect is disheartening. Wilde came close to doing the same thing, but the degree of invention was not quite as great.

My point is not that I think film historical accuracy is the end all, be all of films, but don't you think it's a bit more complicated than just "films shouldn't be judged on historical accuracy unless they do something really damaging". Because a lot of the problems I have with how LGBTQ people are portrayed on film do not typically reside in one singular film but rather in aggregate. Also, the same thinking can be applied to other minorities (woman, people of color, the disabled, etc.)

Thoughts?

-Jeremy


Well I think something's harmful if someone perceives it as such. So while I might not give a shit about Max Baer's presentation in Cinderella Man, I respect that his family feels differently. And even if I don't care about the portrayal of gay people in Basic Instinct (not a historical example, but you take my meaning) that doesn't mean the gay community is equally okay with it.

I didn't really see the portrayal in Basic Instinct as particularly offensive, can't say the same thing for that dreadful Al Pacino film "Cruising" i'm not the least bit surprised that the gay community was protesting that film while it was being shot,


Fri May 31, 2013 3:16 pm
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Post Re: You know what really doesn't matter? Historical accuracy
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I get the feeling that focusing on formalism and aesthetics is a distraction from inventing a time machine to go back to the 1970s, the last decade when such things mattered to filmmakers.


The 70s was the last time such things mattered to most average viewers and many critics, because for some reason everyone lost patience with it after a certain point (from what I've gathered). But in terms of the filmmakers themselves, I think there's just as many formalists now as there ever were.

The Saw films are pretty puerile. Part of Django's issue was indeed the length. Brutality spread over 165 mins is different from brutality spread over 85 mins. In Basterds there were very long gaps between spurts of violence...very long :lol: Django, the gaps are always very short. There's little time to breathe between moments of sheer horror.


Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:17 pm
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Post Re: You know what really doesn't matter? Historical accuracy
Meh... for the most part, I just ASSUME that a movie is taking creative liberties with any film based on "history." If I wanted accuracy, I would just go try to find a documentary on the subject. Or - *GASP* - read a book!

But I confess that there is a line out there where if too many liberties are taken - or just general sloppiness or laziness on the part of the filmmaker - it can reach a level of distracting.


Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:48 pm
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Post Re: You know what really doesn't matter? Historical accuracy
To me, it all depends on the intention of the filmmaker and the film, the level of inaccuracy, and how both balance each other out. For example, even though I wasn't that crazy with Rescue Dawn to begin with, the level of inaccuracy on Herzog's part to exalt Dieter's profile as opposed to the way his companions are portrayed ended up bothering me a lot. On the other hand, I'm not that bothered by Braveheart's inaccuracies because I understand what Mel Gibson and Randall Wallace were going for and where they took the inspiration from.

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Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:16 pm
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Post Re: You know what really doesn't matter? Historical accuracy
If I was a big-time history buff I'd probably be irked by historical inaccuracies in a movie... but, luckily, I'm not. ;)


Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:14 pm
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Post Re: You know what really doesn't matter? Historical accuracy
I liked Argo; but while everyone was throwing fits over the downplaying of the role of the Canadians, what really bugged me was the over the top runway chase. I guess because the chase was obvious embellishment that took me out of the movie while the Canadian stuff the average viewer would have probably needed to do some research. Still a good movie, but fortunately the movie had build up a LOT of good will prior to those final 15 minutes.


Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:13 pm
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Post Re: You know what really doesn't matter? Historical accuracy
Thief12 wrote:
To me, it all depends on the intention of the filmmaker and the film, the level of inaccuracy, and how both balance each other out. For example, even though I wasn't that crazy with Rescue Dawn to begin with, the level of inaccuracy on Herzog's part to exalt Dieter's profile as opposed to the way his companions are portrayed ended up bothering me a lot.


Why? Other than the fact that it is inaccurate, and thus bad. I thought having Jeremy Davies' character as an antagonist of sorts within the camp worked well dramatically.

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Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:51 pm
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Post Re: You know what really doesn't matter? Historical accuracy
Johnny Larue wrote:
I liked Argo; but while everyone was throwing fits over the downplaying of the role of the Canadians, what really bugged me was the over the top runway chase. I guess because the chase was obvious embellishment that took me out of the movie while the Canadian stuff the average viewer would have probably needed to do some research. Still a good movie, but fortunately the movie had build up a LOT of good will prior to those final 15 minutes.


You see I agree with you but it doesn't bother me from a historical perspective, it bothers me from a lack of subtlety perspective.

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Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:52 pm
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Post Re: You know what really doesn't matter? Historical accuracy
JamesKunz wrote:
Thief12 wrote:
To me, it all depends on the intention of the filmmaker and the film, the level of inaccuracy, and how both balance each other out. For example, even though I wasn't that crazy with Rescue Dawn to begin with, the level of inaccuracy on Herzog's part to exalt Dieter's profile as opposed to the way his companions are portrayed ended up bothering me a lot.


Why? Other than the fact that it is inaccurate, and thus bad. I thought having Jeremy Davies' character as an antagonist of sorts within the camp worked well dramatically.


It rubbed me the wrong way. It's one thing to insert a new character to serve as antagonist, but to completely change a real-life character into an evil man? someone that was pretty much in the same situation as Dieter was and that, according to other people who were there was as heroic as he was, just to satisfy Herzog's adoration of Dengler? I thought it was kinda low.

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Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:20 pm
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Post Re: You know what really doesn't matter? Historical accuracy
Thief12 wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Thief12 wrote:
To me, it all depends on the intention of the filmmaker and the film, the level of inaccuracy, and how both balance each other out. For example, even though I wasn't that crazy with Rescue Dawn to begin with, the level of inaccuracy on Herzog's part to exalt Dieter's profile as opposed to the way his companions are portrayed ended up bothering me a lot.


Why? Other than the fact that it is inaccurate, and thus bad. I thought having Jeremy Davies' character as an antagonist of sorts within the camp worked well dramatically.


It rubbed me the wrong way. It's one thing to insert a new character to serve as antagonist, but to completely change a real-life character into an evil man? someone that was pretty much in the same situation as Dieter was and that, according to other people who were there was as heroic as he was, just to satisfy Herzog's adoration of Dengler? I thought it was kinda low.


I will agree that they shouldn't have used a real life person. I like the character, but agree that there's no reason he couldn't have been Bob Q. Bobberson

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Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:22 pm
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Post Re: You know what really doesn't matter? Historical accuracy
JamesKunz wrote:
Thief12 wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Why? Other than the fact that it is inaccurate, and thus bad. I thought having Jeremy Davies' character as an antagonist of sorts within the camp worked well dramatically.


It rubbed me the wrong way. It's one thing to insert a new character to serve as antagonist, but to completely change a real-life character into an evil man? someone that was pretty much in the same situation as Dieter was and that, according to other people who were there was as heroic as he was, just to satisfy Herzog's adoration of Dengler? I thought it was kinda low.


I will agree that they shouldn't have used a real life person. I like the character, but agree that there's no reason he couldn't have been Bob Q. Bobberson


I will add this... Jeremy Davies was excellent, so acting-wise, I also liked the character. And might I drop some kudos to Steve Zahn as well, who probably had the best performance of the film and maybe of his career? Both of them out-acted the more popular Bale IMO.

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