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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: April ::
Film about Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI/I
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0980  Thursday, 29 April 2004

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 28 Apr 2004 10:59:22 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0971 Film about Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI/I

[2]     From:   D Bloom <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 28 Apr 2004 14:48:40 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0971 Film about Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI/I


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Wednesday, 28 Apr 2004 10:59:22 -0700
Subject: 15.0971 Film about Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI/I
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0971 Film about Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI/I

Richard Burt writes that

 >I have no interest in making a case for the film, but it's worth noting
 >that films "based on a true story" always take liberties with the past
 >as historians know it and are always as much about the present moment
 >in which they are produced as they are about the past they are >portraying

How was this film marketed?  If it was marketed as "a true story" rather
than "based on a true story", everything is different.

Besides, would we accept a set of lies regarding anything we care about
simply because there was a few words about it being "based on a true
story" in the advertising and promotional materials?  Triumph of the
Will is based on the real Nuremburg Rallies, for instance, but critics
remain profoundly ambivalent towards it.

Yours,
Sean Lawrence.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 28 Apr 2004 14:48:40 -0500
Subject: 15.0971 Film about Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI/I
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0971 Film about Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI/I

Richard Burt offers this assertion:

"Films and
Documentaries . . . do not give us direct access to the
historical truth any more than biopics or costume drams do."

I disagree. I think well-researched and more objective accounts of
historical subjects really do give us more historical truth than crass
potboilers that play fast and loose with such historical information as
has been gleaned.

Now if what is meant is Truth, absolute and immutable, then, of course,
all historical accounts, from the most meticulously researched to the
most grossly fictionalized, will fall short. And if you do not allow for
degrees of falling short-that is, if it is to you like jumping across a
narrow chasm: it doesn't matter whether you miss by an inch or a yard --
then all discussion is at an end. And I mean all discussion. No one has
access to Absolute Truth except a prophet, and I think few of us would
listen to one who claimed to be one.

But if you do allow for relative degrees of truth, and if you care about
the telling of the truth, then a consciousness of facts, and a devotion
to them, is very important.

Or so it seems to me,
don

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