The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by ray245 » 2018-01-12 09:39am

K. A. Pital wrote:
2018-01-12 09:01am
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-01-12 08:09am
Stas, do you really want to adopt the stance that "no art" is preferable to "imperfectly representational art?"

Because if so, there has never been a time in the history of the world that produced art you are likely to approve of. By sneering at that, you're basically walking away from humanity, not from bad art.
Truth is preferrable to lies. If only lies can be reproduced in typical film (and there are rare exceptions to that), the mass culture needs a kick in the nuts. The masses do not benefit from mass spread of falsehoods, however soothing, and art which displays a fake history to anchor propaganda in the present actually is propaganda.

If honestly called propaganda and not “based on a true story”, then it would be ok. But few people are willing to admit Western art is 99% propaganda and distortions.

Do I approve of the tomb of Tutankhamun and buildings of Hatshepsut, of the Roman buildings and decor? Yes. Do I think that they need to be recreated? No.

If we want to move on to a better world, we need to recognize that mythologized history does more harm than good.

How is the cult of Churchill and the cult of Founding Fathers, or the cult of whatever king or queen becomes a biopic subject, better than the cult of Kim Jong Un?

Fake is fake. Removal and deconstruction of fakes and myths is necessary to advance beyond them.
Those stories will simply be told via other media. You're merely targetting the symptoms instead of the underlying reasons for such stories. What you're asking for is basically beyond what a human society is able to do. Nation-states are built upon turning history into myths, regardless of their political ideology. China had Mao, India has Gandhi, the UK have Churchill and etc.

A narrative movie is not a documentary. People on some level will be aware of that fact. What you can do is instead make people study film in school, and understand how film as a form of media is trying to construct a more mythologized narrative due to time constraints.
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by K. A. Pital » 2018-01-12 09:49am

No I am not. The way we ridicule Zeus and polytheism, the way many people ignore religious beliefs in general shows that even powerful myths can be demolished or at least their mental impact could be mitigated.

And let’s not forget that you can make accurate films. There are the rare exceptions I’ve mentioned.

Finally, the world does not benefit from a perpetuation of white colonialist invader great power myths.

So even if it comes down to national myth versus national myth, I’d rather have one that involves the oppressed as heroes.

Better Ghandi than Churchill.

Better Bollywood and Third/Second World cinema than Hollywood.
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by ray245 » 2018-01-12 10:04am

K. A. Pital wrote:
2018-01-12 09:49am
No I am not. The way we ridicule Zeus and polytheism, the way many people ignore religious beliefs in general shows that even powerful myths can be demolished or at least their mental impact could be mitigated.
The undermining of polytheism is a thousand year project. It took a very long time for people to deconstruct those myths, with Christians themselves, being angry over not being allowed to teach those myths. Yet despite all the ridicule, classical myths still survive in the modern world as stories people are interested in hearing. Movie studios are still making movies based on such myths is a powerful testament to how difficult it is to remove the relevance of such myths in our society.


And let’s not forget that you can make accurate films. There are the rare exceptions I’ve mentioned.
And those are rare, and generally, do not reach the popularity of stories where things are mythologized.
Finally, the world does not benefit from a perpetuation of white colonialist invader great power myths.
And complaining about movies is in no way going to get what you want. People will simply tune out from your complaints.
So even if it comes down to national myth versus national myth, I’d rather have one that involves the oppressed as heroes.

Better Ghandi than Churchill.
And you've completely ignored your whole issue about myths you don't like. All your complaints about national-myths you don't like are merely just complaint that won't make any difference. You're not making a persuasive argument to make people as a whole rethink about their national myths.

How are you going to deconstruct the national-myths of Churchill in a way that resonate with people?
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by K. A. Pital » 2018-01-12 10:10am

Maybe by pointing out that in practice, his rule was horrible for India and other subjugated nations?

If I were in Bollywood I‘d make a counterpunch film, showing that while Churchill was urging Britain to fight Nazis in Europe, he was also perpetrating immiseration upon colonies; ordering to kill rebels, starve Indians in the British Raj, etc.

The film would not aim to deconstruct the narrative in Britain - pointless to try to cure the nation of its last vestiges of grandeur when it is already in full blow revanchist mode with people like Johnson at the helm.

It would rather be aimed at citizens of other nations who are routinely poisoned by Hollywood lies.
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by ray245 » 2018-01-12 12:07pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2018-01-12 10:10am
Maybe by pointing out that in practice, his rule was horrible for India and other subjugated nations?

If I were in Bollywood I‘d make a counterpunch film, showing that while Churchill was urging Britain to fight Nazis in Europe, he was also perpetrating immiseration upon colonies; ordering to kill rebels, starve Indians in the British Raj, etc.

The film would not aim to deconstruct the narrative in Britain - pointless to try to cure the nation of its last vestiges of grandeur when it is already in full blow revanchist mode with people like Johnson at the helm.

It would rather be aimed at citizens of other nations who are routinely poisoned by Hollywood lies.
And no one is saying you can't do that. It's just pointless for a British filmmaker to do that because there's no way he can earn back his money at the box office. If Bollywood wants to do a movie about Churchill, they are free to do so. But just don't expect it to have any success in the UK.

And to be honest, I'm not sure how many people in India would feel the need to watch a movie about Churchill's action in India. Unlike Hitler who tore down his country, there is no real dramatic narrative about Churchill's action in India. He isn't in living in India during WW2, nor did it interact much with Indians. It's hard to sustain the narrative simply based on the flaws of Churchill, or even make it the center point of the movie.

You keep saying about films should represent the historical reality and deconstruct myth, but I simply don't think you can really do a good job out of it. There is some narrative that lends itself better to a more historical reality, but some narratives aren't easy to construct within the limitation of a film. You have 2 hours at the most to construct a singular narrative about a particular subject. That itself means you have to eliminate a lot of information because there just isn't enough time and certain scenes will simply distract from the flow of the overall narrative.

How would your counter-narrative have enough appeal to sustain the drama of a 2-hour long movie? How are you going to make a bio-pic about Churchill's flaws appealing enough to the mass audience? How are you going to think about the pacing of the movie and make sure his actions in India can become an integral part of the narrative?

I don't think you understand film as a medium, and what's it's limitations are. Some films are able to achieve the task of balancing out historical reality and drama, but most films aren't. How do you make a movie about Churchill's misrule dramatic enough to appeal to a wide audience? Especially in this day and age in movies, where fast pace story-telling are considered paramount to box office success. It's not like most Churchill bio-pic are a big financial success in rest of the world, to begin with.

You're aiming a Churchill bio-pic at an audience that doesn't exist, be it in the UK or other parts of the world. Your taste in such movies is quite a niche in comparison to world-market. You're making a movie that appeals to you, not a movie that appeals to others.

You can complain all day about how people are dumb and etc, but that's how it is. Humans generally react better to myths of heroes than stories about deconstructing heroes.
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by K. A. Pital » 2018-01-12 12:52pm

ray245 wrote:
2018-01-12 12:07pm
You keep saying about films should represent the historical reality and deconstruct myth, but I simply don't think you can really do a good job out of it. There is some narrative that lends itself better to a more historical reality, but some narratives aren't easy to construct within the limitation of a film. You have 2 hours at the most to construct a singular narrative about a particular subject. That itself means you have to eliminate a lot of information because there just isn't enough time and certain scenes will simply distract from the flow of the overall narrative.
Yes, that's true - some information would have to be eliminated. If I were making a biopic, I'd make the key character sure to show also his flaws, though, not just the good sides. It is what makes us human, after all. I like the way they structured Jacques-Yves Cousteau biography drama, with showing not just his triumphs, but also failures. It did not detract from the person; on the contrary, I've come to appreciate his achievements despite his flaws as a human.

Compelling counter-narrative can exist, it is just the unwillingness to explore it and the desire to "play safe" in Hollywood which generally don't let such films to exist. Most of the more factual, more complex films come from different moviemaking traditions.
ray245 wrote:
2018-01-12 12:07pm
I don't think you understand film as a medium, and what's it's limitations are. Some films are able to achieve the task of balancing out historical reality and drama, but most films aren't. How do you make a movie about Churchill's misrule dramatic enough to appeal to a wide audience? Especially in this day and age in movies, where fast pace story-telling are considered paramount to box office success. It's not like most Churchill bio-pic are a big financial success in rest of the world, to begin with.

You're aiming a Churchill bio-pic at an audience that doesn't exist, be it in the UK or other parts of the world. Your taste in such movies is quite a niche in comparison to world-market. You're making a movie that appeals to you, not a movie that appeals to others.

You can complain all day about how people are dumb and etc, but that's how it is. Humans generally react better to myths of heroes than stories about deconstructing heroes.
Well if we're only concerned about money, then we'd might end with a totally commercialized sterile movie clone factory that does a few safe action movies, a few safe comedies and a few safe biopics... waaaait a minute, that's our starting point. You haven't told anything that would change my dismay.

You say I'm the minority and a deconstruction can't be successful or appeal to people. That might be so, but it is still a goal to work towards, not just dismiss it out of hand as "well it will never happen" and pretend that we have to stop criticism of ahistorical representation in film.

Somehow we're all ready to criticize whitewashing and racism, the idiotic portrayal of the Confederates as nice guise and so on, in film. And in big-budget film. "POC in a lead role would never work because it won't attract enough viewers and white people have all the cash" is something one could've said back in the day when cinema was in a yet-tighter grip of Hollywood stereotypes and tropes.

But film is a fluid medium and given successful experimentation, it may change for the better. It has to. Otherwise stagnation kicks in and the only reason is entertainment, not education. If there is no education through film, then it is a wasted opportunity. Education as such isn't living through the best of days, so if we're willing to abandon the values of factual exploration and truthfulness just to make it more interesting - and not like "dramatize things" but invent stuff out of thin air for the sake of drama - then I think it is up to the new generation of cinema directors to dispel this.

Kind of like the sixth generation of Chinese directors engaged in brutally honest, self-critical filming in a hyperrealist genre - and made headlines and box office too with their films, just think of Jia Zhangke - so a new generation must work to rectify the mistakes of the previous filmmakers.
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by ray245 » 2018-01-12 01:31pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2018-01-12 12:52pm
Yes, that's true - some information would have to be eliminated. If I were making a biopic, I'd make the key character sure to show also his flaws, though, not just the good sides. It is what makes us human, after all. I like the way they structured Jacques-Yves Cousteau biography drama, with showing not just his triumphs, but also failures. It did not detract from the person; on the contrary, I've come to appreciate his achievements despite his flaws as a human.
I don't think anyone is opposed to showing the flaws of historical characters. The question is whether that information is going to be relevant within the larger framework of the story. Churchill's actions are happening within the context of WW2, with his actions in India generally being considered a side-note in the overall war effort.

But how are you going to show his actions in India within the narrative of the overall story? What's the overall narrative you're trying to build around Churchill? You can shoot a scene about his decision about India, but it's hard to make it feel relevant within the narrative of a WW2 framework.

Those are topics better in a documentary about Churchill and the British empire, but I don't think those events can be fit nicely into a bio-pic.
Compelling counter-narrative can exist, it is just the unwillingness to explore it and the desire to "play safe" in Hollywood which generally don't let such films to exist. Most of the more factual, more complex films come from different moviemaking traditions.
Hollywood films are about creating stories that appeal to a mass audience. It's big budget approach meant they aren't interested in documenting history, but representing history in a particular manner that is as accessible as possible.

Well if we're only concerned about money, then we'd might end with a totally commercialized sterile movie clone factory that does a few safe action movies, a few safe comedies and a few safe biopics... waaaait a minute, that's our starting point. You haven't told anything that would change my dismay.

You say I'm the minority and a deconstruction can't be successful or appeal to people. That might be so, but it is still a goal to work towards, not just dismiss it out of hand as "well it will never happen" and pretend that we have to stop criticism of ahistorical representation in film.
No one is saying you can't criticise the ahistorical representation in film. I'm just saying you are assuming film as a medium is about historical representation in the first place. A film is not a history book, it's the main purpose is to create drama out of whatever subject they can find. Asking a movie to be a historical representation is like asking the Illiad to be a historical representation of the world at the time.

Somehow we're all ready to criticize whitewashing and racism, the idiotic portrayal of the Confederates as nice guise and so on, in film. And in big-budget film. "POC in a lead role would never work because it won't attract enough viewers and white people have all the cash" is something one could've said back in the day when cinema was in a yet-tighter grip of Hollywood stereotypes and tropes.
The root of those question is whether you can create drama out of those topics. Films that challenge the old-fashioned portrayal of the confederates tend to be built from the perspective of those suffering under them. 12 years a slave is a drama from the point of view of someone who was enslaved.

You can create a historical movie about the famine in India. You can talk about how this suffering is the result of Churchill's policies. But that won't be a biopic about Churchill.

But film is a fluid medium and given successful experimentation, it may change for the better. It has to. Otherwise stagnation kicks in and the only reason is entertainment, not education. If there is no education through film, then it is a wasted opportunity. Education as such isn't living through the best of days, so if we're willing to abandon the values of factual exploration and truthfulness just to make it more interesting - and not like "dramatize things" but invent stuff out of thin air for the sake of drama - then I think it is up to the new generation of cinema directors to dispel this.
Of course, there can be new ways of doing films. But at the same time, you have to acknowledge the limitation of film. It has a very confined time compared to any other medium. Film is not something that lends itself well to breaks in the story. Film is not like a TV series.

You have 2, maybe 3 hours at most to sustain a story. You need to maintain a sense of visual pacing. Tons of stuff that look great in the script is entirely cut in a movie simply because of pacing issues.
Kind of like the sixth generation of Chinese directors engaged in brutally honest, self-critical filming in a hyperrealist genre - and made headlines and box office too with their films, just think of Jia Zhangke - so a new generation must work to rectify the mistakes of the previous filmmakers.
Speaking of Chinese stories, I think the example of the three kingdoms is an excellent example of how hard it is for people to break away from historical myths. All the movies about the three kingdom period are predominantly based on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. These are a mythologcal retelling of the events and historical figures. The romance version of the story has become so entrenched in Chinese culture that no one has been able to break away from this version in any dramatic format.

The power of fictionalised account of history is something stuck with us as long as human civilisation. The vast majority of people don't feel the need for truth in their myths. Popular folktales, for instance, are rarely about trying to present a truthful account of events.
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by K. A. Pital » 2018-01-12 02:12pm

ray245 wrote:
2018-01-12 01:31pm
I don't think anyone is opposed to showing the flaws of historical characters. The question is whether that information is going to be relevant within the larger framework of the story. Churchill's actions are happening within the context of WW2, with his actions in India generally being considered a side-note in the overall war effort.

But how are you going to show his actions in India within the narrative of the overall story? What's the overall narrative you're trying to build around Churchill? You can shoot a scene about his decision about India, but it's hard to make it feel relevant within the narrative of a WW2 framework.

Those are topics better in a documentary about Churchill and the British empire, but I don't think those events can be fit nicely into a bio-pic.
Actually, these topics can very much fit into the biopic, if you don't just end it with the winning of WWII, but explore it a bit further. Think about this structure for a potential film: first, Churchill's younger days in colonial wars, where his racist views are shown ("they must learn the superiority of race!") - then contrast this with his more mature, older position when he stands against the Nazis in Europe, saying that their politics are abhorrent. A good twist, the audience checks how the person has evolved from prior views. Then Churchill rises to power and WWII goes on. Sympathy at max! Then he wins and right at war's end we see him politicking to crush dissent in the crumbling Empire - again, sympathies of the audience are subjected to a test. He kills anti-Nazi partisans in Greece, tries to crush Ghandi, etc. At the end, you can show Churchill with the Saudi despots, and then you can truly understand that Churchill is pretty much the representative of the British Empire itself. Is he flawed as a man or is the Empire flawed? Boom! Viewers have to think a bit, but it doesn't really make the story less interesting or the visuals less cool, or the talk less real.
ray245 wrote:
2018-01-12 01:31pm
Hollywood films are about creating stories that appeal to a mass audience. It's big budget approach meant they aren't interested in documenting history, but representing history in a particular manner that is as accessible as possible.
Which is mostly done by lying and inventing history.
ray245 wrote:
2018-01-12 01:31pm
No one is saying you can't criticise the ahistorical representation in film. I'm just saying you are assuming film as a medium is about historical representation in the first place. A film is not a history book, it's the main purpose is to create drama out of whatever subject they can find. Asking a movie to be a historical representation is like asking the Illiad to be a historical representation of the world at the time.
There is a difference between "Abraham Lincoln the Vampire Hunter" and a biopic of Abraham Lincoln. There should be more rigour when making the second, and way more thought given to the actual events the person was involved in.
ray245 wrote:
2018-01-12 01:31pm
The root of those question is whether you can create drama out of those topics. Films that challenge the old-fashioned portrayal of the confederates tend to be built from the perspective of those suffering under them. 12 years a slave is a drama from the point of view of someone who was enslaved.

You can create a historical movie about the famine in India. You can talk about how this suffering is the result of Churchill's policies. But that won't be a biopic about Churchill.
You could, though, tie it into a Churchill biopic in a way that would not be dominating the narrative, but would lend some ambiguity to Churchill's character. So far I haven't seen any reasonable explanation on why this couldn't be done. Or maybe not the Indian famine - perhaps the clampdown on rebellions? The attack on Greek partisans? There could be lots of stuff you could show to make it a more complex film.

But let's just drop this and keep Churchill and Europe alone as focus. Why show him as a "man of the people' when he clearly wasn't? He was no populist; and his unpopularity was a fact, he won mostly by using political skills at the top rather than at the bottom. No need to make a Trump story out of Churchill. It is silly and perhaps a worse ahistorical thing than even omitting his entire record in the colonies.
ray245 wrote:
2018-01-12 01:31pm
Of course, there can be new ways of doing films. But at the same time, you have to acknowledge the limitation of film. It has a very confined time compared to any other medium. Film is not something that lends itself well to breaks in the story. Film is not like a TV series.

You have 2, maybe 3 hours at most to sustain a story. You need to maintain a sense of visual pacing. Tons of stuff that look great in the script is entirely cut in a movie simply because of pacing issues.
I know that, but it still does not excuse obvious errors. Representation can be more honest and still tight-paced.
ray245 wrote:
2018-01-12 01:31pm
Speaking of Chinese stories, I think the example of the three kingdoms is an excellent example of how hard it is for people to break away from historical myths. All the movies about the three kingdom period are predominantly based on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. These are a mythologcal retelling of the events and historical figures. The romance version of the story has become so entrenched in Chinese culture that no one has been able to break away from this version in any dramatic format.
Three Kingdoms is an era where documentary sources are sparse, so reconstruction is hard. Fiction is popular. The Bible is popular, and it's pure fiction.

I don't think that it is fair to compare a biographical picture of someone like Churchill, with ample memoirs, documentary sources, transcripts of the meetings and basically a schedule and note of his entire PM term, with an adaptation of a pure fiction book like the Bible, or Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

Moreover, one sure can introduce fictional elements because a dramatic film often deals with moments never recorded, but when it's so obviously erroneous, it just doesn't feel right. Because the intent is also clear, and as I said, propaganda is what it is.
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-01-12 02:39pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2018-01-12 09:01am
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-01-12 08:09am
Stas, do you really want to adopt the stance that "no art" is preferable to "imperfectly representational art?"

Because if so, there has never been a time in the history of the world that produced art you are likely to approve of. By sneering at that, you're basically walking away from humanity, not from bad art.
Truth is preferrable to lies. If only lies can be reproduced in typical film (and there are rare exceptions to that), the mass culture needs a kick in the nuts. The masses do not benefit from mass spread of falsehoods, however soothing, and art which displays a fake history to anchor propaganda in the present actually is propaganda.
There is a distinction to be drawn between propaganda and imperfectly representational art.

Representing Winston Churchill as an enlightened man of his times, let alone ours, would be the former. Representing him as a man who was always right, definitely propaganda.

Having Winston Churchill running phrases for a speech past people on a subway car is the latter.
If honestly called propaganda and not “based on a true story”, then it would be ok. But few people are willing to admit Western art is 99% propaganda and distortions.

Do I approve of the tomb of Tutankhamun and buildings of Hatshepsut, of the Roman buildings and decor? Yes. Do I think that they need to be recreated? No.

If we want to move on to a better world, we need to recognize that mythologized history does more harm than good.

How is the cult of Churchill and the cult of Founding Fathers, or the cult of whatever king or queen becomes a biopic subject, better than the cult of Kim Jong Un?
Kim Jong Un demands that you bow down and worship him and his ancestors.

Churchill never did.

There is a fundamental difference between art that systematically distorts reality so as to create significant false conclusions (i.e. portraying the Ku Klux Klan as heroes in the Reconstruction-era South in Birth of a Nation), versus art that diverges from reality for the sake of building a compact, compelling narrative that is nonetheless representative of what actually happened (i.e. portraying Klansmen doing specific terrorist things they never directly did, but which are so similar to real acts as to make no difference).
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-01-12 02:45pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2018-01-12 09:49am
No I am not. The way we ridicule Zeus and polytheism, the way many people ignore religious beliefs in general shows that even powerful myths can be demolished or at least their mental impact could be mitigated.

And let’s not forget that you can make accurate films. There are the rare exceptions I’ve mentioned.

Finally, the world does not benefit from a perpetuation of white colonialist invader great power myths.

So even if it comes down to national myth versus national myth, I’d rather have one that involves the oppressed as heroes.

Better Ghandi than Churchill.

Better Bollywood and Third/Second World cinema than Hollywood.
If you advocate one work of fiction over another because of reasons of ideology, how are you different or better than the propagandists you decry? You're reducing yourself to an attack dog, not a seeker after truth.
K. A. Pital wrote:
2018-01-12 10:10am
If I were in Bollywood I‘d make a counterpunch film, showing that while Churchill was urging Britain to fight Nazis in Europe, he was also perpetrating immiseration upon colonies; ordering to kill rebels, starve Indians in the British Raj, etc.
Would you include his speech after Amritsar, on account of being a seeker after truth?

Or do you only leave in the things that tell the story you want to tell, on account of being an attack dog?
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by ray245 » 2018-01-12 02:57pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2018-01-12 02:12pm
Actually, these topics can very much fit into the biopic, if you don't just end it with the winning of WWII, but explore it a bit further. Think about this structure for a potential film: first, Churchill's younger days in colonial wars, where his racist views are shown ("they must learn the superiority of race!") - then contrast this with his more mature, older position when he stands against the Nazis in Europe, saying that their politics are abhorrent. A good twist, the audience checks how the person has evolved from prior views. Then Churchill rises to power and WWII goes on. Sympathy at max! Then he wins and right at war's end we see him politicking to crush dissent in the crumbling Empire - again, sympathies of the audience are subjected to a test. He kills anti-Nazi partisans in Greece, tries to crush Ghandi, etc. At the end, you can show Churchill with the Saudi despots, and then you can truly understand that Churchill is pretty much the representative of the British Empire itself. Is he flawed as a man or is the Empire flawed? Boom! Viewers have to think a bit, but it doesn't really make the story less interesting or the visuals less cool, or the talk less real.
Those are events that aren't easy to fit within a movie timeframe. A mini-series of a full TV series would work, but I don't think you can achieve that when modern films are trying to get under the 2 hours mark.

Which is mostly done by lying and inventing history.
Mass appeal. Easier to make movies about stories the general public somewhat buys into.
There is a difference between "Abraham Lincoln the Vampire Hunter" and a biopic of Abraham Lincoln. There should be more rigour when making the second, and way more thought given to the actual events the person was involved in.
And Steven Speibery spent decades trying to work out a narrative about Lincoln that can fit within a movie timeframe. Yet it is still subject to overplaying and overdramatising stuff.
You could, though, tie it into a Churchill biopic in a way that would not be dominating the narrative, but would lend some ambiguity to Churchill's character. So far I haven't seen any reasonable explanation on why this couldn't be done. Or maybe not the Indian famine - perhaps the clampdown on rebellions? The attack on Greek partisans? There could be lots of stuff you could show to make it a more complex film.
Time and pacing. The more stuff you throw, the more issues you have with the pacing of the movie. Bio-pics are often seen by audiences as a slow-pace movie as they are. Adding more stuff will slow down the pacing of a movie even more.

But let's just drop this and keep Churchill and Europe alone as focus. Why show him as a "man of the people' when he clearly wasn't? He was no populist; and his unpopularity was a fact, he won mostly by using political skills at the top rather than at the bottom. No need to make a Trump story out of Churchill. It is silly and perhaps a worse ahistorical thing than even omitting his entire record in the colonies.
I think the whole man of the people issue has been pointed out by Churchill's grandson as well. The question is whether that scene ties within the larger narrative of this film's primary subject. The core narrative of this film seems to be primarily about Churchill's attempt to rally the British public into fighting on as opposed to surrendering. Scene are invented to tie into that particular narrative.

Is it historical? Not, but I think such a scene works to communicate the overall narrative of the film to the audience.

I know that, but it still does not excuse obvious errors. Representation can be more honest and still tight-paced.
No, I don't think so. Oliver Stone's Alexander is an example where an attempt to be historically accurate ends up dragging the pacing of the overall movie. Look at some of the Nelson Mandela's biopic for instance. Take the two Nelson Mandela's biopic as comparison.

Invictus (focusing on his presidency) vs The Long walk to Freedom. The former has a much tighter narrative because it doesn't try and document most aspects of Mandela's history. It has bigger box office success and better critical reception.


Three Kingdoms is an era where documentary sources are sparse, so reconstruction is hard. Fiction is popular. The Bible is popular, and it's pure fiction.
It's not hard to find more historical accounts of the three kingdom period. The official historical account of the three heroes does not idealised the characters as much as the Romance version did. Yet the later is far more well-read and popular.

I don't think that it is fair to compare a biographical picture of someone like Churchill, with ample memoirs, documentary sources, transcripts of the meetings and basically a schedule and note of his entire PM term, with an adaptation of a pure fiction book like the Bible, or Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
I think it's a fair basis of comparison because we can compare the historical account ( San Guo Zhi) with the mythic retelling of events ( Romance of the Three Kingdom). The Churchill people are interested in is not the actual historical persona that he really was. It's his larger than life aspect that makes him so remembered in the modern day.

Take other historical figures for example. Patton, Rommel and etc are all remembered for their larger than life personalities. Hence why fewer people are interested in stories of Eisenhower than say JFK.
Moreover, one sure can introduce fictional elements because a dramatic film often deals with moments never recorded, but when it's so obviously erroneous, it just doesn't feel right. Because the intent is also clear, and as I said, propaganda is what it is.
Films are always about constructing a very specific narrative than being a representation of the past. Even bio-pic of people alive today are often twisted beyond recognition to get the main narrative and themes across. FIlms are what films are. You are asking them to be something they are not.

I'm surprised you are so caught up in the idea of there being some sort of historical truth in movies.
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by K. A. Pital » 2018-01-12 03:37pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-01-12 02:45pm
If you advocate one work of fiction over another because of reasons of ideology, how are you different or better than the propagandists you decry? You're reducing yourself to an attack dog, not a seeker after truth.
I never said I'm better than them, I said if there's no way around the mythological narrative, then I'd prefer one from the side of the oppressed.
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-01-12 02:45pm
Would you include his speech after Amritsar, on account of being a seeker after truth?
I would, as it would make the character deeper and the story better - as I would fully include his damning words about the Nazis, because it would only underscore the problems the Empire had to face with its own subjugated people, and make later solutions seem much more troubling from a standpoint of remaining human even when you've become an instrument of the emppire. Maybe another person would not.

But then, that's just me. Another person would prefer to counter propaganda with equally ridiculous propaganda. I think that's what happened for most of the Cold War filmmaking, for example.
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-01-12 02:45pm
There is a fundamental difference between art that systematically distorts reality so as to create significant false conclusions (i.e. portraying the Ku Klux Klan as heroes in the Reconstruction-era South in Birth of a Nation), versus art that diverges from reality for the sake of building a compact, compelling narrative that is nonetheless representative of what actually happened (i.e. portraying Klansmen doing specific terrorist things they never directly did, but which are so similar to real acts as to make no difference).
I agree with this. The problem is, how do you determine the border between the two? Let's say glamorizing Churchill a bit is OK. After all, that's the normal perception of him. It's not as bad as glamorizing the Ku Klux Klan. But where's the line? Is it "Gone with the Wind"? Anything beyond that turns into a repugnant propaganda of slave-owning Confederates, anything to the "lighter" side is OK and it is kind of in the middle? :lol: What I'm getting at is that people's limits are fluid here. For me, Churchill isn't cool because of who he was and what state he represented and served so much as to almost become its avatar in the mid-XX century. So I tend to give less value to this kind of "art". Maybe others think differently.
ray245 wrote:Patton, Rommel and etc are all remembered for their larger than life personalities.
Rommel? A minor Nazi general, and is remembered for a "larger than life personality"? I think there's a limit to where people should take their perceptions of another person. One thing to make the person seem real (plenty of films achieve that) and another to reconstruct the person into what the audience wishes to see.

The difference is subtle, but it is there. I'm only railing against primitivization of art, fetishism of "cool narratives" about "big men". It's... easy, but it is also a trap.
ray245 wrote:I'm surprised you are so caught up in the idea of there being some sort of historical truth in movies.
Maybe because I'm very selective and I like when a good story is told faithfully.
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-01-12 03:52pm

Rommel is remembered mainly because he had full command of a largely independent theater of operations for an extended period of time. He was fairly good at his job, but his personality was unremarkable by the standards of competent generals.

Patton, by contrast, deliberately courted controversy and was unusual by the standards of successful generals, in ways that make him a legitimately entertaining and curious character, if an ambiguous one.

...

More to the point, my real view is simply that not all non-historical things make a biopic into propaganda. It depends heavily on what is said, and how, and in what context. The bare fact of including a scene that never happened, but contributes to the story, isn't inherently wrong.

Furthermore, it is fallacious to pick apart all works of art with whataboutism. The Darkest Hour is specifically, tightly focused on Churchill's rise to leadership of the British government in the days immediately prior to, and during, the German invasion of France.

There is an entirely different story to be told about Churchill and India, one that should rightfully begin in 1896 when Churchill was a lieutenant of hussars in India. Or about Churchill and colonialism, including his forays in Cuba and the Sudan and South Africa. There are, indeed, many such stories; Churchill led a very full and busy life.

But a story of, specifically, the response of Britain to the sudden onslaught of the Germans in Western Europe circa May 1940? That is an almost entirely separate story, and entangling the two would be the job for a major television series, not a single film.

Yes, you can argue that the bare act of making a movie about this one moment is somehow unfairly favorable to Churchill. But it is also the main reason Churchill is remembered at all. The reason we even bother discussing his legacy, in a way we don't bother discussing Stanley Baldwin or Clement Attlee. It is not wrong in itself to tell that story, among other reasons because this is the story that justifies all the others being told.
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by ray245 » 2018-01-12 03:54pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2018-01-12 03:37pm

Rommel? A minor Nazi general, and is remembered for a "larger than life personality"? I think there's a limit to where people should take their perceptions of another person. One thing to make the person seem real (plenty of films achieve that) and another to reconstruct the person into what the audience wishes to see.
Perception isn't about historical reality. Zhuge Liang, for example, is celebrated in Chinese society for being a military genius despite he squandering his military resources with failed invasion after failed invasion.

The big question is how many are interested in seeing a certain historical figure as "real"?
The difference is subtle, but it is there. I'm only railing against primitivization of art, fetishism of "cool narratives" about "big men". It's... easy, but it is also a trap.
Such "cool narrative" is a fundamental part of human society. I don't think human society is well adapted to complex narratives. Certain sub-set of the population might be interested in alternate narratives, but they tend to be in a minority. I don't think any amount of education will ever change the way human society behaves. A simple narrative often dominates because of its simplicity.
ray245 wrote: Maybe because I'm very selective and I like when a good story is told faithfully.
Surely you must be aware that there's no such thing as a historical truth? No story is ever told faithfully because they are always about conveying a certain narrative. People can have their preference over what sort of narrative appeals to them, but no story is ever faithful.

Your taste in movies is fine, but don't expect a wide segment of society to buy into your preference and narrative. Complex narrative is not something society as a whole are able to handle.
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by ray245 » 2018-01-12 04:01pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-01-12 03:52pm
Rommel is remembered mainly because he had full command of a largely independent theater of operations for an extended period of time. He was fairly good at his job, but his personality was unremarkable by the standards of competent generals.
Not his personality, but his overall campaign in Africa was a compelling narrative about him being a military genius. Whether he was an actual military genius is not the point.
Patton, by contrast, deliberately courted controversy and was unusual by the standards of successful generals, in ways that make him a legitimately entertaining and curious character, if an ambiguous one.

...
Patton's antics are famous enough that he makes for a more interesting biopic than someone more successful like Eisenhower. It's easier to focus on Patton because his story offers far more drama and entertainment than a relatively "boring" general like Ike.

More to the point, my real view is simply that not all non-historical things make a biopic into propaganda. It depends heavily on what is said, and how, and in what context. The bare fact of including a scene that never happened, but contributes to the story, isn't inherently wrong.

Furthermore, it is fallacious to pick apart all works of art with whataboutism. The Darkest Hour is specifically, tightly focused on Churchill's rise to leadership of the British government in the days immediately prior to, and during, the German invasion of France.

There is an entirely different story to be told about Churchill and India, one that should rightfully begin in 1896 when Churchill was a lieutenant of hussars in India. Or about Churchill and colonialism, including his forays in Cuba and the Sudan and South Africa. There are, indeed, many such stories; Churchill led a very full and busy life.

But a story of, specifically, the response of Britain to the sudden onslaught of the Germans in Western Europe circa May 1940? That is an almost entirely separate story, and entangling the two would be the job for a major television series, not a single film.

Yes, you can argue that the bare act of making a movie about this one moment is somehow unfairly favorable to Churchill. But it is also the main reason Churchill is remembered at all. The reason we even bother discussing his legacy, in a way we don't bother discussing Stanley Baldwin or Clement Attlee. It is not wrong in itself to tell that story, among other reasons because this is the story that justifies all the others being told.
All bio-pics are inherently selective in what sort of narrative and drama they wish to convey. They are never meant to be a historical portrait of a person.
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by Aleister Crowley » 2018-01-12 04:21pm

Sounds like an interesting movie, even if it's 90% propaganda. I've seen polarizing figures get both good and bad movie adaptations. Even yours truly got a bad movie depiction. So it pretty much boils down to the director, screenwriter, cast, and studio. A good movie should succeed in showing a person as complex, no matter how famous they are or well known for certain aspects. I mean, why only show one side? Make it fair and make it accurate. Do buckets of research and aim for accuracy in all aspects, from time period to mannerisms.

One might argue that movies are about entertainment, but I disagree. I think movies can shape perceptions beyond what we may think. For example, many of the historical "based on a true story" movies such as Pearl Harbor are Hollywood trash. Tora Tora Tora did a better job being accurate and respectful to both sides. By comparison you could call Pearl Harbor a bit of Hollywood propaganda and nothing else. Here's to hoping that the British film makers don't do that.

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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by ray245 » 2018-01-12 04:50pm

Aleister Crowley wrote:
2018-01-12 04:21pm
Sounds like an interesting movie, even if it's 90% propaganda. I've seen polarizing figures get both good and bad movie adaptations. Even yours truly got a bad movie depiction. So it pretty much boils down to the director, screenwriter, cast, and studio. A good movie should succeed in showing a person as complex, no matter how famous they are or well known for certain aspects. I mean, why only show one side? Make it fair and make it accurate. Do buckets of research and aim for accuracy in all aspects, from time period to mannerisms.
Time. You got limited time to show everything about the character. You can paint a fuller picture, but that means you need more time to develop his character, which in turn leads to longer running time and more audience turning away from such movie.

I think TV series are better if you want to develop a more complex character, or at the least show the person's story in multiple movies.
One might argue that movies are about entertainment, but I disagree. I think movies can shape perceptions beyond what we may think. For example, many of the historical "based on a true story" movies such as Pearl Harbor are Hollywood trash. Tora Tora Tora did a better job being accurate and respectful to both sides. By comparison you could call Pearl Harbor a bit of Hollywood propaganda and nothing else. Here's to hoping that the British film makers don't do that.
Tora Tora Tora was a box office failure and critics disliked the movie for being too boring. There is a market for historically accurate movies, but they aren't a representation of most audience.

Can movies shape popular culture? Yes, but historically accurate movies often aren't big success to change people's perception in the first place.
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by K. A. Pital » 2018-01-12 04:57pm

ray245 wrote:
2018-01-12 04:01pm
Not his personality, but his overall campaign in Africa was a compelling narrative about him being a military genius. Whether he was an actual military genius is not the point.
But he wasn't. And Africa was a small theater of operations in the gigantic WWII clash. USSR and China suffered most casualties and had the most massive, largest battles on their territory. It is only through a dedicated cult by people with... ahem, a strange love for all things Nazi... that his figure even rose to prominence after the war.

So it is definetely a narrative not worth saving and not worth depicting. It's just wrong and brings nothing of worth. It's not even a lie that could do good.
ray245 wrote:
2018-01-12 04:01pm
Surely you must be aware that there's no such thing as a historical truth?
I'm not aware that there is no such thing.
Simon wrote:Furthermore, it is fallacious to pick apart all works of art with whataboutism. The Darkest Hour is specifically, tightly focused on Churchill's rise to leadership of the British government in the days immediately prior to, and during, the German invasion of France.

There is an entirely different story to be told about Churchill and India, one that should rightfully begin in 1896 when Churchill was a lieutenant of hussars in India. Or about Churchill and colonialism, including his forays in Cuba and the Sudan and South Africa. There are, indeed, many such stories; Churchill led a very full and busy life.

But a story of, specifically, the response of Britain to the sudden onslaught of the Germans in Western Europe circa May 1940? That is an almost entirely separate story, and entangling the two would be the job for a major television series, not a single film.
True. But even then, I find the story very much subverted into something that wasn't, because Churchill's story is that of political intrigue and disposal of less fortunate rivals. Maybe it could've been done differently, or maybe I just overreacted to a film.

:lol:

Maybe my dislike of the British Empire overlapped with a dislike of Churchill and a dislike of Hollywood... add some factual inaccuracies into the mix, and here I go.
ray245 wrote:
2018-01-12 04:01pm
Tora Tora Tora was a box office failure and critics disliked the movie for being too boring.
Pearl Harbor was a bad war film and and a box office success. It's not the first of its kind, but certainly not the last. Bad films can also succeed at the box office. See Michael Bay.
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by ray245 » 2018-01-12 06:00pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2018-01-12 04:57pm
But he wasn't. And Africa was a small theater of operations in the gigantic WWII clash. USSR and China suffered most casualties and had the most massive, largest battles on their territory. It is only through a dedicated cult by people with... ahem, a strange love for all things Nazi... that his figure even rose to prominence after the war.

So it is definetely a narrative not worth saving and not worth depicting. It's just wrong and brings nothing of worth. It's not even a lie that could do good.
The point is the narrative of Rommel in a game of chess or cat and mouse with the British troops makes his story an appealing one, regardless of the actual historical context. The drama is not based primarily on the historical context, but what the overall story offers to readers/viewers.
I'm not aware that there is no such thing.
Any historical narrative we construct is based on our preference in some way or another. We often sideline facts or information based on whatever our narrative we want to tell. We don't' necessarily need to lie about facts, but the act of choosing what we want to tell and what we don't want to tell is something quite subjective.
True. But even then, I find the story very much subverted into something that wasn't, because Churchill's story is that of political intrigue and disposal of less fortunate rivals. Maybe it could've been done differently, or maybe I just overreacted to a film.

:lol:

Maybe my dislike of the British Empire overlapped with a dislike of Churchill and a dislike of Hollywood... add some factual inaccuracies into the mix, and here I go.
That's the narrative that you are interested in based on your own personal preference. That itself doesn't make your story more "truthful" that one that concentrates on a period that portrays Churchill's strengths. You see Churchill's story as one about political intrigue. That's your narrative, and it's a valid one, but that doesn't make it the only way you can tell a story about him.

I get wary if someone doesn't understand their personal preference is shaping the way they want history to be told.

Pearl Harbor was a bad war film and and a box office success. It's not the first of its kind, but certainly not the last. Bad films can also succeed at the box office. See Michael Bay.
I'm not disputing that it's a bad movie. I'm saying standards of a movie aren't entirely related to its popularity. Historical myths are primarily about mass appeal, and pleasing as many people as possible. There's a reason why national myths are often as simplified as possible. I'll argue even the notion of creating historical "heroes" is about simplifying a person's complexity down to their simplistic form.
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by K. A. Pital » 2018-01-12 06:09pm

ray wrote:I get wary if someone doesn't understand their personal preference is shaping the way they want history to be told.
I get wary when a simplified and fictional narrative created by the ruling class is followed unquestionably, but any questions are shut down with "but uh it's art!"

Yes, it is. And no, it is not immune to criticism. Demanding more accuracy doesn't totally remove subjectivity. You can still choose what to show, you are right about that.

But inventing stuff has become very popular. And I don't like it for the same reason I don't like religion and faith. They require blind following and discourage critical thinking.
ray245 wrote:That itself doesn't make your story more "truthful" that one that concentrates on a period that portrays Churchill's strengths.
A story that contains more fact and less fiction, and more diverse facts, is more truthful by definition. It may not be the best story ever told, but when it comes to history, I've already said I don't aim to compete with works of fiction.
ray245 wrote:The point is the narrative of Rommel in a game of chess or cat and mouse with the British troops makes his story an appealing one, regardless of the actual historical context.
Fake story can also be appealing. Let's make fake stories over and over again. At some point, the entire history will just be one huge fake.
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by ray245 » 2018-01-12 07:29pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2018-01-12 06:09pm
I get wary when a simplified and fictional narrative created by the ruling class is followed unquestionably, but any questions are shut down with "but uh it's art!"
Who said anything about following it unquestionably? My point is film has never been anything more than a simplified narrative, and any representation of it on the screen should not be taken as the truth. Every director will happily admit they changed some events to get the narrative across. I think you want film to be something it isn't.
Yes, it is. And no, it is not immune to criticism. Demanding more accuracy doesn't totally remove subjectivity. You can still choose what to show, you are right about that.
What people want to show is nothing more than what they want to show. There's always an agenda behind movie making. Some myths are certainly worse than others ( say the confederate myths or the Nazi myths), but they are fundamentally using the same approach as a movie showing a communist uprising, or a heroic tale of struggle against fascism and imperialism.

The goal and purpose of a film is not the truth. It's always about trying to portray one particular historical narrative or myth.
But inventing stuff has become very popular. And I don't like it for the same reason I don't like religion and faith. They require blind following and discourage critical thinking.
Inventing stuff to historical events has been popular since we started recording history. It's popular and a part of how human society works. I don't think any amount of education can get rid of it because the creation of myths has powerful emotional resonance in people.

Historical myths are basically about cultural communication. They convey a distilled down idea that's accessible to as many people as possible. Without them, I don't think society could function as well as it did.
A story that contains more fact and less fiction, and more diverse facts, is more truthful by definition. It may not be the best story ever told, but when it comes to history, I've already said I don't aim to compete with works of fiction.
Film is an entirely fictional medium. More than other forms of media, it selects and cuts away parts that don't help the overall narrative. The very fact that a selection is being made of what facts to be portrayed meant it can't be truthful. It's selecting a particular narrative you might think it's truthful.

We can't fully document anyone in the first place. We make assumptions about people, often based on what's been written down and recorded, but those aren't a full picture by any means. We can get a more comprehensive picture of course, but that's not really being truthful by any means. Accuracy and truth aren't exactly the same time.
Fake story can also be appealing. Let's make fake stories over and over again. At some point, the entire history will just be one huge fake.
History itself is a self-selection process made by humans. We periodise stuff, we place more importance on certain aspects of causality over others. At the same time, we do create historical fiction apart from history books. These fictionalise account aren't necessarily about representing historical events or people in the way they are, but creating drama based around such persona/events.

Again, I draw the attention back to Romance of the Three Kingdom. The Records of the Three kingdom does exist as an actual historical source. Yet the two works are very different and serves a very different purpose within society. However, the drama and main narrative of the Romance serves an informative purpose within society. It serves as an reflective account of society by centering it within a historical context.

We need not confuse the two as if they are somehow inseparable.
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-01-12 10:59pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2018-01-12 04:57pm
ray245 wrote:
2018-01-12 04:01pm
Not his personality, but his overall campaign in Africa was a compelling narrative about him being a military genius. Whether he was an actual military genius is not the point.
But he wasn't. And Africa was a small theater of operations in the gigantic WWII clash. USSR and China suffered most casualties and had the most massive, largest battles on their territory. It is only through a dedicated cult by people with... ahem, a strange love for all things Nazi... that his figure even rose to prominence after the war.
Rommel's main enemies of the early to mid-war, the British, thought he was or might be a genius. They were pretty damn impressed by his performance, especially compared to the grossly inferior performance of the Italians they'd been fighting previously. Yes, he was fighting in a side theater, that is not the point. It's okay to tell stories about side theaters. So I would not casually dismiss him as 'nothing special' without a very detailed and debateable analysis, at which point, well...

Let's just say I thank my lucky stars that I don't live in a world where you get to decide what kinds of art get released. Because you have an amazing knack for arbitrarily dismissing things by making snap judgments on questions that real live historians have to argue over for decades. That's a great way to destroy a lot of good art, or rather pre-empt it from ever existing in the first place. Since part of the purpose of art is the creation and cultivation of beauty and aesthetic quality as such, that's a sad thing in my opinion.

In addition, casual dismissal of art as a common response tends to negate art that does carry even the kind of messages you value, as collateral damage. Declaring that the one true way to tell a story or paint a picture is Socialist Realism with a side order of anticolonialism may not be the best long term plan...
True. But even then, I find the story very much subverted into something that wasn't, because Churchill's story is that of political intrigue and disposal of less fortunate rivals. Maybe it could've been done differently, or maybe I just overreacted to a film.
Churchill's story is both that of intrigue and, objectively, of him being one of the few Britons who was warning everyone about the Nazis and turned out to be right all along. He was, in fact, correct to point them out as a threat, at a time when the British establishment, including both the conservatives and the socialists, underestimated it seriously.

It is not wrong to tell a story that points this out. The entire reason Churchill is a historical figure of any note at all is because he was in this place, at this particular moment in history. A moment when he was largely vindicated on an important issue (the threat of Naziism and the need to confront it with force), and when his most useful personality traits (stubborn determination, a good command of inspirational speech and writing, and wide-ranging, flexible thinking about military issues) were more or less the ones his country needed.

At other times, Churchill as prime minister would have been (and later proved to be) rather less than desirable. At that time, he was useful. That is the main reason anyone still cares who he was, half a century after his death. It is not wrong to call some attention to this fact, among other things because it incentivizes people to even talk about the many other ambiguous aspects of his character and actions.
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by ray245 » 2018-01-13 12:33am

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-01-12 10:59pm
Let's just say I thank my lucky stars that I don't live in a world where you get to decide what kinds of art get released. Because you have an amazing knack for arbitrarily dismissing things by making snap judgments on questions that real live historians have to argue over for decades. That's a great way to destroy a lot of good art, or rather pre-empt it from ever existing in the first place. Since part of the purpose of art is the creation and cultivation of beauty and aesthetic quality as such, that's a sad thing in my opinion.

In addition, casual dismissal of art as a common response tends to negate art that does carry even the kind of messages you value, as collateral damage. Declaring that the one true way to tell a story or paint a picture is Socialist Realism with a side order of anticolonialism may not be the best long term plan...
I'm not sure Pital is aware of the problems with assuming there is some sort of historical truth to one particular narrative. A narrative with more historical information doesn't automatically makes it more truthful.

As much as history is a science, it's also an art. There is a rigorous fact-checking element, but also an element where historians have to think about how to communicate their version of history across to their audience.
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by K. A. Pital » 2018-01-13 03:50am

I don't want to be the censor for these films. I just don't like them and want different films. Big difference. I also think that primitive stories have a huge detrimental effect even as you guys bend over backwards to explain how this is totally normal, natural etc.
Simon_Jester wrote:That's a great way to destroy a lot of good art
I didn't destroy a single thing of art with my dislike of what I find a poor biopic. Don't overreact as well, please, since I'm not blowing up the Summer Palace here. Merely stating my opinion that we should have more faithful - and if that fails, at least more diverse - depictions of historical characters in film. Such a bad thing.
ray245 wrote:Accuracy and truth aren't exactly the same time.
That's gotta be one of the most 1984-esque replies I've ever gotten here. You're entitled to think that way, but let me be as I am. Accuracy in depiction of historical events is truthfulness, and to deny it is silly. More accurate depictions are by definition more true.

Say, you want to make a narrative that glorifies Nazis, but you stumble upon the fact it's hard to do, as if you depict events accurately, it would be hard for the audience to sympathize. If you, however, depict facts differently or omit them, you can go through with the narrative.

This doesn't seem damaging to you because the world is well-educated - at least, some parts of it - on what threat such stories pose and what actually happened. But there are other, less known moments, where the world is not yet sufficiently educated to reject a false and damaging narrative.

Imperialism and colonialism is one set of such events, because until now imperialistic metropolies dominated in terms of spreading their own vision and culture; a great many people thus are not adequately educated on how bad these things are. And as it stands now, due to enormous opposition from entrenched metropolies, many might never be.

So it's kind of... imagine living in a world where Nazis won and then retroactively they rewrote history - both in the education sphere but also in the arts - film, book, murals, paintings - to show them fundamentally in the right, and the rest more or less in the wrong.

Think about this for a moment and then I'm willing to listen to your arguments again.
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Re: The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill).

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-01-13 05:50am

I think what needs to be addressed is that we use art to convey not just events, but morals, positions, thinking, etc.

That it is just to care about your fellow man, to fight against tyranny, to be kind to others, etc. In historical films, we echo these points, as this is often what these films are trying to convey, and this is partly why we have these myths. This is why we have aesops and fables, to teach moral lessons. Storytellers would use famous historical figures and gods to convey morals. Is Achilles not a lesson in pride that everyone can remember? Is Zeus disguising himself as a traveler a great way for people to remember to be kind to travelers on the road?

Same with fairy tales. Is it not important that people should judge people based on their actions and not on their looks, or why cleverness is such a good virtue? Or the value of hard work?

Failure to regard that is failure to regard why most stories exist in the first place. Tying it into historical people can be a problem with rewriting the past, but it does give us morals to try and live by.
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