Taking Creative License

        Movies are a great way to learn about history, culture, and politics of other countries, if the movie-goer is aware that film is not always accurate. As a movie-goer hoping to learn about another country, a person must be aware that the writer, director, and actors very often take creative license with movies about real people, places, and things.

        For example, when watching the movie Braveheart, directed in 2005 by Mel Gibson, I find that it makes for a very good plot twist that the French princess that is married into the English royalty is having a love affair with William Wallace. In reality she was still a child living in France. It added to the interest level of the film to have the two falls in love and made it more interesting toward the end when he was in prison, but this is not historically accurate. This is a perfect example of a film that gives a look at not only another time and place, but also another way of living since they lived in tribes and had to make an effort to work together as a whole.

        Another example of a film that gives some historical information, while changing the story to make it seem more interesting is The Untouchables, directed by Brian De Palma in 1987. This is a film about one man's attempts to bring down Al Capone. Al Capone really was a gangster in prohibition-era Chicago, but much of the movie was untrue. This is not a film from another country, but it was a different time and way of looking at life. A film like this gives some insight into what people lived through during those turbulent years when the Mob ran much of the country.

        One movie that is fairly accurate, to my knowledge, is In the Time of Butterflies, directed by Mariano Barroso in 2001, with Selma Hayak. She plays a young woman in the Dominican Republic who gets involved with the revolution and ends up dying for her cause. The film gives and interesting look at women's roles in the society, as well as what life in a dictatorship was like.

        In conclusion, I think that film is a wonderful way to learn about history, or other cultures. Although I do think that people have to be careful to not assume that just because they see something on the big screen, that does not mean that is really the way it happened.

Rachel Dismang