Intrepid Optimist is the place where I can share my stories; fact, fiction and thoughts from the past and present. It’s Written by myself for people who believe adventure knows no age
Recently I found myself wondering how many of the latest, based on the truth films watched, really are true to their original story? This year alone there have already been a few new accounts of historical events on film: A United Kingdom – the 1947 story of an African Prince’s marriage to an English girl; Dunkirk – the 1940 evacuation of troops from France; The Promise – the history of the Armenian genocide; and The Lost City of Z – which traces the 1925 disappearance of the explorer Percy Fawcet.
All very entertaining I am sure but how close to the facts were they?
We know the marriage between the celluloid version and real life has always been a troubled one. Life is reality where films are fantasy and this is worrying me because many of today’s cinema goers do not really care about the truth as long as the film is engaging?
The problem with the increasing dumbing-down of news and in many cases education – is that the majority of the younger audiences will leave the cinema believing that the, based on a true story they have just sat through is engraved-in-stone accurate.
A short time ago I read that some, not so young children, having seen the latest technically enhanced, animation films believe dinosaurs do exist.
This reinvention of both historical fact and fiction in the cinema is nothing new. Lawrence of Arabia, Bridge over the river Kwai, JFK, Braveheart, Marie Antoinette or Apocalypto, would all have been boring or too tame if the directors had been made to stick to the facts.
How often do we hear, “I have seen the film, I don’t have to read the book?” It used to be the other way round; it was a must to read the book before seeing the film. That way the film could be compared, liked or disliked and you understood what you had watched was just another Hollywood version of the truth.
Unlike many of today’s film goers, you did not leave the cinema believing you had just had an authentic history lesson.
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Louise Jensen - Writer - www.louisejensen.co.uk