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Published on October 17, 2007

Author: Charlie

Source: authorstream.com

Historical Feature Film:  Historical Feature Film Feature Film > Some (confusing) criteria historians use in evaluation:  Feature Film > Some (confusing) criteria historians use in evaluation accuracy of detail use of original documents consulting with a professional historian type/nationality/looks of actors appropriate music “poetical and metaphorical” use of historical details (see Robert Rosenstone quoting Gerda Lerner) Feature Film > Context for Article: Historical Film and Postmodernism:  Feature Film > Context for Article: Historical Film and Postmodernism “Postmodernism”--contradictory term, used to denote post-Fordist economy, non-linear anti-modernist literature and art, and methods of historical research based on textual interpretation rather than fact-finding Roland Barthes: there are no facts, just “reality effects” Joan Scott: because language is important, we have no direct access to our experience - we should study instead how people narrate their experience Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak: “subaltern” (illiterate, subordinate, racially and socially oppressed) peoples cannot “speak” for themselves because their language is determined by the dominant (educated, elite) culture Rosenstone’s conclusion: anachronisms and “displaced facts” are ok, as long as the film’s interpretation “rings true” as a result Feature Film > Fictions “historically true” in a “filmic way” according to Rosenstone:  Feature Film > Fictions “historically true” in a “filmic way” according to Rosenstone Walker: conversation between Vanderbilt and Walker that never happened Born on the Fourth of July: events depicted as part of Syracuse U. protest really happened at other protests at other universities A Knight’s Tale: “The Wave” and other signs of contemporary fan behavior Feature Film > Historical film that presents history more conventionally: The Return of Martin Guerre:  Feature Film > Historical film that presents history more conventionally: The Return of Martin Guerre A film about an impostor who takes place of a husband who goes to war. The film takes place in a 16th-century French village. Natalie Zemon Davis, a professional historian of France, consulted on the film. Her book was the basis for the film. But: Natalie Zemon Davis was criticized for her book anyway, because both the book and the movie speculated about the motives behind the wife’s acceptance of her fake husband--her critic argued that Davis produced an unverifiable “feminist” interpretation Feature Film > Historical film that presents history without anachronism: The Return of Martin Guerre:  Feature Film > Historical film that presents history without anachronism: The Return of Martin Guerre A film about an impostor who takes place of a husband who goes to war. The film takes place in a 16th-century French village. Natalie Zemon Davis, a professional historian of France, consulted on the film. Her book was the basis for the film. But: Natalie Zemon Davis was criticized for her book anyway, because both the book and the movie speculated about the motives behind the wife’s acceptance of her fake husband--her critic argued that Davis produced an unverifiable “feminist” interpretation Feature Film > Historical film that aroused protests of French historians despite its historical veracity: Danton (dir. Andrzei Wajda, 1983):  Feature Film > Historical film that aroused protests of French historians despite its historical veracity: Danton (dir. Andrzei Wajda, 1983) A film about the French Revolution, where Danton’s execution during the Terror is used as a metaphor for communist repressions in Eastern Europe French historians attacked the film as a misinterpretation of the history of the French Revolution But: Andrzei Wajda was more interested in communism in Poland than in revolutionary France Feature Film > Historical film comedy that does not try to be factual yet was lauded for authenticity: The Front (dir. Woody Allen, 1976):  Feature Film > Historical film comedy that does not try to be factual yet was lauded for authenticity: The Front (dir. Woody Allen, 1976) A film about blacklisted screenwriters in 1950s United States where Woody Allen plays a gambler who submits screenplays written by his blacklisted friends. Nobody expected a comedy to be realistic But: Woody Allen used many actors who were blacklisted during the 1950s so his film is often used by historians teaching McCarthyism Film Review Assignment > Some questions:  Film Review Assignment > Some questions What is the film’s genre? (drama, documentary, etc.) What is the film’s audience? (TV viewers, general film audience, students) What is the film’s main historical point? (what sense of history is it trying to convey “metaphorically,” as per Rosenstone’s article) What evidence does this film use? (relevant to both documentary and feature films) In what ways is this film successful? It what ways does this film fail as history?

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