As a French historian, I was bombarded with questions from friends, family members, and even strangers about whether I was excited to see “Les Miz,” the film version of the wildly popular stage musical, which was released in December. For some reason, knowing that someone who studies French history is excited to see Les Misérables makes people want to see the film more.
Films & Media
We all know that films on historical subjects distort events for the sake of entertainment. The goal of this review is to examine this latest rendition of slavery in popular culture from a historian’s point of view to see how those distortions are used and what affect they may have on popular ideas about slavery.
Anne Buford’s documentary Elevate focuses on several Senegalese youths and their attempts to make it out of Senegal through basketball.
Argo is the story of the Americans’ ordeal and their relatively miraculous escape—and in this it delivers. It is unfortunate, however, that the film presents these dramatic events against a simplified backdrop that diminishes the complexity of the Iranian political scene at the time.
Steven Spielberg’s latest historical drama chronicles the 16th President’s final months and the struggle for passage of the 13th Amendment by the House of Representatives. Despite the excellent performances turned in by the star-studded cast, “Lincoln” has a number of shortcomings from the historian’s point of view.
“The Descendants,” directed by Alexander Payne, opens with a voice-over by protagonist Matt King (played by George Clooney), a wealthy Oahu lawyer, about how everyone assumes that Hawaii is a paradise.
“¡Viva Cristo Rey! Long Live Christ the King!” The rallying cry of the men and women who fought for religious freedom against Mexico’s revolutionary anti-clerical laws gave the movement its name.
Although its subject is one of the more interesting moments in recent sports history, Moneyball offers surprisingly little of that history.
“A Separation” is an Iranian drama directed by Asghar Farhadi. As is indicated by the title, the film focuses on the separation of Nader and Simin, an affluent couple residing in Tehran. Simin wishes to escape Iran’s repressive society and move to Canada, which she believes is a more suitable environment to raise their daughter, Termeh.
Far from being a film about narrow Jewish, Israeli, or obscure academic subjects, its universal concern is that of fame and recognition, the eternal quest for historical truth, the pursuit of power, and the dynamics of intellectual rivalry.