Learning from a Country’s Films

         When most films are produced they either show an image of one country, or they are universally understood. Examples would be D. W. Griffith’s 1915 The Birth of a Nation, Jirí Menzel’s 1966 Ostre sledovane vlaky (Closely Watched Trains), Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 Rashômon, and Arthur Penn’s 1967 Bonnie and Clyde.

         The Birth of a Nation shows historical significant scenes of the Civil War and its truthful effects of American society. This is almost a film of American history and is chronologically shown to tell the events of citizen’s lives and even deaths.

         Another movie portrays historical features of its country of that time era. It would be Ostre sledovane vlaky. Not only did the storyline revolve around a young man who is following the footsteps of his family’s generations of men, it showed the WWII’s impact of their country. The audience can pick up the feel of that society’s everyday life and from the country’s war life.

         The Japanese film Rashômon also shows ancient Japan. The costumes and props used by the main characters are appropriate for the audience to pick up the right perceptions of twelfth-century Japan. Also Japanese music was used to feel the vibe of traditional society of the outdated Japanese. However, one could feel that the Japanese were liars and not trusted. I think that would be a disbelief shown to give the wrong perception of the Japanese.

         Another movie that is historically scripted would be Bonnie and Clyde. Even though it shows the two facts of the bank robbers, it rather portrayed Americans as violent and tricky. Also, the brutal ending showed the way the two (Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, played by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty) had been outsmarted. It shows that the American society will overpower the bad with good.

         Most historical films are made with one society’s accuracy of facts and perceptions. However, each film is made for entertainment, and the viewer should be aware of a film’s narrow-mindedness.

Gina Fielder

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