Anachronisms in Filmmaking
- Gentlemen, if I may observe, as hobbyists and students of a remarkable activity---that of trying to recreate the past with accuracy so as to have a means both of understanding the past and the present, and have fun doing it---we really have no choice but to gently urge people who depict history to "get it right". Novelists are subject to literary criticism; artists to similar judgment; and musicians to the same. Filmmakers claim what they do is one of the "arts"; fair ball, say I. They therefore should not go uncriticized with the dismissal "it's only a movie". "Master & Commander" deserved criticism because it was poorly advised on details of historical accuracy; advice that earned the advisor a tidy sum, but was not up to professional standards. Period.
Equally, Mel Gibson---who insists his films are art, and are hung out there for fair criticism---has a record of appearing in films of consistent historical distortion ("Braveheart", and in particular the ludicrous "The Patriot"). "The Passion Of The Christ" may reveal a Catholicism more reminiscent of Torquemada than the modern age---that's Gibson's psychological worry, and he frankly gives me the creeps personally---but with the lorica segmentata and other errors (a questionable use of medieval church Latin for conversational Latin in A.D. 33, and a use of Aramaic for street speech when there is every possibility it was colloquial Greek) he accepts a degree of historical inaccuracy that is fair game for criticism. Laziness in attempting to present history is no excuse; it isn't accepted in historical writing, and it shouldn't be in film."It's only a movie" should never wash as an excuse. Do we say "it's only a re-enactment", and let some guy trot on the 18th C. field with a Civil War kepi over 1917 doughboy duds?
At a Grand Encampment of the F&I War at Fort Ti I showed up at Phil Dunning's Excellent Establishment wearing a plastic raincoat over my 18th C. duds. Cold stares and a few cleared throats sent me slinking back to my tent to put on a boat cloak, and rightly so. In one of my novels set in 1745 I had the Brits in a 36-gun frigate, only to be telephoned by a guy in Darwin, Oz, who reminded me that in 1745 the Brits had 24-gun frigates, and 44-gunners, but not 36s, and I should bloody know better, since I was bloody charging him for my bloody book. He was right, and I apologized.
So don't accept "it's only a movie". Ever. And don't accept amateurishly "advised" films that claim to be authoritative, when you know better.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- I apologise for this long, seemingly off-topic post, but it is in keeping
with the thread.
...and so I wade into the fray...
I have not seen the "Passion" yet, but I will. Just as soon as the fervour
dies down a little.
The context of the film is an interpretation of the part of the Bible that
covers the last twelve hours of Jesus's life starting with his moment of
temptation at Gethsemane.
I personally don't believe that, in this case, it was important for the
piece to be 100% historically accurate. It is an interpretation of the four
Canonical Gospels only, taking selectively from all and revealing none
It doesn't approach the other 16 non-Canonical Gospels or for that matter
the Dead Sea Scrolls. If one were creating a film of historical
documentation, it would behoove them to include all possible sources of
As to the question of speaking Greek/Aramaic, there are differing views here
The many Gospels of the day were translated into Greek as per the
instructions of St. Paul, (the Heretic), to bring them to the Gentiles who
were Greek speaking. To this day this is why we refer to Joshua by the Greek
To think that this is evidence that the Hebrews spoke Greek exclusively is
an act of historical closure.
The Jews had their own language, Hebrew, which they spoke in context of
their religion. In their daily lives they spoke the common language of the
area, Aramaic. Many would speak Greek, which was a language of commerce or
Latin (Roman), because of the need to communicate with the "Illigitimae" (
please excuse my poor Latin) occupying their country.
From what I've read and heard from Mr. Gibson, this film is less about the
history of the prophet and more about the basis for a religion.
The debate here is not about whether or not "this is just a movie".
It is a statement of Gibson's faith.
(please don't make me talk about mythology or the contradictions within the
And Vic? I do believe that most films are art.
My two assarions,
- --- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, Craig Williams <sgtwarner@s...>
> The context of the film is an interpretation of the part of theBible that covers the last twelve hours of Jesus's life starting with
his moment of temptation at Gethsemane.
Craig, now you've done it! Don't tell me how it ends!