Saturday, May 09, 2015

Should movies get a pass to portray falsehoods?

From Barbara Reynolds on the movie Selma


Despite these and other historic distortions, “Selma” has won a Golden Globe and two Oscar nominations (Best Picture and Best Original Song). Its misrepresentations might not bother those who buy the premise that moviemakers are not historians; that their mission is to entertain rather than educate, to dramatically pursue a riveting story regardless of its truth. But it is wrong for storytellers to engage in open miseducation, to fictionalize our heroes. Doing so robs real people of their historic truth, particularly when those people can no longer defend themselves. Sadly, it’s often easy to popularize a myth when it packs more drama than the truth, and the more often an untruth is told, the harder it is to counter it.


IPBiz agrees.  False statements don't belong in movies which purport to be history.

See also earlier IPBiz post on the movie Lincoln.


Historical error in movie Lincoln?

Propagating falsehoods does a greater disservice to society than copying without attribution.

Nevertheless, see John Lewis on Selma:


As for Johnson's taped phone conversation about Selma with King, the president knew he was recording himself, so maybe he was tempted to verbally stack the deck about his role in Selma in his favor. The facts, however, do not bear out the assertion that Selma was his idea. I know. I was there. Don't get me wrong, in my view, Johnson is one of this country's great presidents, but he did not direct the civil rights movement.
This film is a spark that has ignited interest in an era we must not forget if we are to move forward as a nation. It is already serving as a bridge to a long-overdue conversation on race, inequality and injustice in this country today. It may well become a touchstone, a turning point for another generation of activists who will undertake the next evolutionary push for justice in America.


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