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March 1994


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Stephen Hart <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 15 Mar 1994 14:42:00 EST
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                      E L E C T R O N I C   M E S S A G E
                                        Date:     15-Mar-1994 02:16pm EST
                                        From:     Stephen Hart
                                        Level:    Post-secondary/University
                                        Tel No:   904-644-4839
TO:  Remote Addressee                     ( _jnet%screen-l@ua1vm )
Subject: re: reality/entertainment
I finally got around to reading the posts on this subject form the weekend.
I may reinterate what was already said, so please forgive the redundancy.
Our society is in big trouble if we have to rely on movies and TV to
educate us rather than the classroom.  Don't get me wrong:  I'm all for
using entertainment mediums for educating.  But when people first hear of
the Holocaust because of _Schindler's List_!  What would have happened if
the movie was never made?  Would even general knowledge of the event have
been forgotten, save for those who happen to hear about the various museums
and monuments around the country?  And the problem with that reliance is
that most times those stories will not be told with total accuracy.  Spike
Lee lectured here last week, and when asked about why certain persons and
events were excluded from _Malcolm X_, Lee cited potential legal problems
and having to curtail the already long story: "Artistic decisions"  I think
he said.  With _Schindler_,
Speilberg (sp?) couldn't ask a mob of extras to emaciate themselves for the
sake of realism.  Oliver Stone had an agenda for exerting his theories in
_JFK_, so even with the opposing viewpoints he introduced, he had some
control over what was said in the movie.  I read the book _One Gallant
Rush_ some time after seeing _Glory_, and was amazed at the new insight I
got on Robert Shaw that the
movie failed to deliver, let alone the wealth of details that where
excluded or condensed, persumably for artistic purposes.  So those who rely
only on movies for history or any other lesson will find themselves with an
inaccurate picture and ignorant of many other events if they don't do any
further research.
I think Sterling Chen mentioned how violence in the movies desensitizes
people to violence in real life.  I can relate to that.  For years, I loved
movies with lots of slick violence and killing.  Then I saw _Glory_.
Probably combined with other experiences in my life at the time, I realized
that men died violent deaths as depicted FOR REAL, even though it was some
200 years ago.
Since then, I can't stand movies with excess violence (excess as I perceive
it) and am more sensitive to the violent world around me.  Maybe _Glory_
softenend me to be "surprised" by _Schindler's List_.
The b&w/reality thing:  I have trouble seeing how black and white heightens
reality.  To me, using black and white could only heighten aesthetic.  Or
is black and white such a break from the color world we're used to
seeing-especially in movies and TV-that we sit up and take notice and hence
see more? Interesting theory.
Thanks for reading my babble!
Stephen Hart