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 Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?

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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Does accuracy in films matter to audiences? - Page 3 EmptyTue 07 May 2019, 12:04

I've never made a secret of the fact that Game of Thrones is one of my guilty pleasures.  In the most recent episode some people were complaining about one of the plot points where a mythical flying creature was shot down by bolts from a giant ballista (well a whole lot of giant ballistas - called "scorpions" in the show) - the other mythical flying creature who has a rider escapes.  The ballistas were on a fleet of ships.  Some people were complaining that a ballista would not have been able to hit a high-flying creature and that the rider should have spotted the fleet.  It's a fantasy of course but not everybody is willingly enabling their suspension of disbelief.  The only thing I could think of that might parallel this in real history (because of course mythical flying creatures don't exist) is aeroplanes and guns shooting from the ground.

I'm not a military historian (or a naval or aeroplane historian) but would it be possible for a fleet to lay an ambush cunningly and unnoticed by their enemy?  I don't think a ballista would be able to shoot down an aeroplane but would it be able to shoot down a moving target?  Some criticism came from people saying a ballista would not be able to do so.  With it being fantasy the ballistas were extra large of course.
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Green George
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Does accuracy in films matter to audiences? - Page 3 EmptyTue 07 May 2019, 23:18

Surely the whole idea of a barrage is that individual shots are not aimed, but all are discharged in the general direction of the target? Consider a pheasant shoot. No one shot is likely to hit, but put enough in the air and - lo and behold, your pheasant has been shot enough pellets to make it dinner a week next Sunday.
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Abelard
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Does accuracy in films matter to audiences? - Page 3 EmptyWed 08 May 2019, 10:07

Dear LadyinRetirement,

I think that cinema is not capable of offering absolute realism, but rather an idea of realism obeying a series of rules established by the director in his own universe; that is why the viewer is more or less obliged to put aside his scepticism for the duration of the film.

But sometimes, however, it is seriously damaged by a "detail" that more or less spoils the experience, that prevents the work from reaching perfection or simply from being a film that stands out from the others. Because in movies, no matter how realistic, as long as the whole thing is credible!
But this evaluation depends on a personal opinion and that's why the film critics are there.
The lack of credibility is a priori much less important in a science fiction  or fantasy film than in a film on a historical subject.

But as an antithesis, the lack of realism can also be exploited to create a comic effect that makes me laugh a lot, as far as I am concerned, as for example here, with this parody of ultra-violent American films that makes it a very "credible" comedy film, if I may say....



Therefore, I think it can influence the audience, but in a positive as well as a negative way and it depends on the audience concerned and the type of film.
In my opinion, political guidance, real or perceived, on specific historical issues can have the greatest influence if the public takes it at face value.
But is it really important if the audience only considers it as entertainment?
Moreover, it is not for me to judge for others, everyone is free to express their personal opinions and feelings.
Kind regards,
Abelard
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Does accuracy in films matter to audiences? - Page 3 EmptyFri 10 May 2019, 19:37

This is the third time I have tried to enter something on this thread today.  Firstly, I was thanking Gil for the information about how a barrage worked.

I had tried to address Abelard's valid point about whether it was ever truly possible to depict history totally accurately but somehow my comment disappeared.  To be honest, I am probably more tolerant of a film or programme I like than of one I dislike.  I didn't pick up the faults personally (probably because I tuned out of the show very early on) but I was ready to scoff at the plastic under-eaves guttering etc in The White Queen because I didn't like what little I saw of the show.  I mentioned Game of Thrones upthread.  That's a fantasy show but with a pseudo-medieval setting and apparently on a recent episode someone had left a Starbucks coffee cup within site of the camera.  I admit I hadn't noticed that.  Over the years a few bloopers in programmes with a historical setting have been mentioned on Res Hist.  A plastic bottle in a scene in Downton Abbey was quite a well-known one.  Then if a film crew goes to a genuine medieval castle to shoot a scene (some scenes) for a film with a medieval setting, of course they will be using a castle that shows the signs of weathering over several hundred years whereas at the time the events in question would have taken place the castle would have been new or relatively new.  Still, nowadays CGI can be used to work wonders in post-production.  I think I mentioned the film L'Anglaise et le Duc on the French Literature thread and from memory, considering the film was made in 2001, CGI was used quite effectively to show a backdrop of Paris at the time of the Reign of Terror.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Does accuracy in films matter to audiences? - Page 3 EmptyThu 20 Jun 2019, 12:31

I made quite a long post expressing my concern about "true crime" series on TV.  I haven't seen the Netflix show (hardly surprising as I don't have Netflix) When They See Us, so my ability to judge is obviously limited.  It handles the Central Park Jogger case - nearly 30 years ago some youngsters (many of whom were African American) went wild in Central Park and there were some violent crimes including a particularly nasty rape of a jogger.  Five black teenagers were charged with the crime but some years later another person confessed to the crime and his DNA was found on the jogger's sock.  (The jogger was so badly injured she lost her memory for the attack and could not identify the perpetrator or perpetrators) and the five were released and given some compensation by the City of New York.  That is just an outline of what happened.  Now I wasn't there so I can't say whether the people imprisoned had any involvement or not and one does not want to see innocent people jailed.

If the Netflix drama is to be believed the confessions made by the Central Park 5 were co-erced.  It seems to have really done a hatchet job on Linda Fairstein, who oversaw the sex crimes legal prosecution unit in New York at the time.  She has denied that the portrayal of her as a racist in the show was accurate or that the youngsters were beaten or interrogated without their parents being present (except the one who was over 16).  It's a one side says this and one side says something different kind of situation but there seems to be much hatred for Ms Fairstein generated by this programme.  I'd like to find an online resource about the Central Park 5 which is neutral - or which gives both sides of the story - but so far I've only found sites which very much aver that they were innocent or are of the opinion that at least they have some complicity in the matter.  I've read some of Ms Fairstein's crime novels and enjoyed them and she didn't come across as racist in those.  I know being a good writer doesn't make someone's character flawless and that there have been false confessions to crimes (and not just in New York).  Some time ago I mentioned the Seneca Village (area largely inhabited by African Americans which was cleared to make way for Central Park) - I learned about that by reading one of Ms Fairstein's books.  I just worry about "the court of public opinion" being whipped into a frenzy by something on the goggle-box.
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Vizzer
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Does accuracy in films matter to audiences? - Page 3 EmptySat 26 Oct 2019, 22:34

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
I don't know if it was ever known for Crusaders to bring back wives of other ethnicities in those times.  Probably it is not all that likely but not impossible.

Following the release of his 1957 film Det sjunde inseglet (The Seventh Seal) which was broadcast on BBC Four recently, the Swedish director Ingmar Bergmann received considerable criticism from historians of the day for inaccuracies in the plot. For example, the film is set during the Black Death in the 1340s and features a returning crusader and his squire but it was pointed out that the Crusades had ended 50 years earlier following the fall of Acre in 1291. Similarly, the inclusion in the film of the character of Albertus Pictor, the mediaeval painter famous for his church wall paintings, was also said to be incongruous as Pictor lived in the 15th century over 100 years after the Black Death.
   
One would have thought that the first charge was quite petty because, although the Levantine crusades had indeed effectively ended in 1291, the Northern crusade in Lithuania was ongoing in the 1340s as too was the Smyrna crusade in Asia Minor.  Also, the whole film is allegorical and arty, more concerned with metaphysical concepts and theological and philosophical discourse. One would have thought that Bergmann would have dismissed such pedantry. But not a bit of it. He actually took the criticism to heart and so much so that he ensured that he received adequate historical advice when it came to his later productions.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Does accuracy in films matter to audiences? - Page 3 EmptySun 27 Oct 2019, 19:47

Vizzer, thanks for your reply. I haven't seen "The seventh seal", but only for sure "Wild Strawberries"
https://www.theguardian.com/film/1999/jun/10/1
I found it an excellent film.
I think that I saw a second one from him about a village? were there are feelings from a vilager to a lady of the village and a stranger comes in the village...
But it can also be an no Bergmann film.
I found Bergmann always to be a torn soul, someone fighting with his own existence. But yes, aren't we perhaps all a bit the same way?

And in my opinion it is very much to Bergmann's credit that, as you say, he tried to avoid in his later films the inconsistent historical narration.

Kind regards, Paul.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Does accuracy in films matter to audiences? - Page 3 EmptyFri 06 Dec 2019, 14:40

I wasn't sure whether to put this here or under conspiracy theories.  As folk know I sometimes use YouTube videos as material to practise my shorthand.  There's a channel "History Buffs" that ascertains how accurate some historical films are.  I watched one (though the speaker was really too fast for me to make any shorthand outlines) - the film "Amadeus" about Mozart.  One matter the YouTuber mentioned was that the feud between Mozart and Salieri was really a "conspiracy theory" though I think the term "malicious rumour" might have been more apt.  I saw the film several years ago and did enjoy it but going by the comments under the video Salieri actually tutored Mozart's son and that while it was true that Mozart married his landlady's daughter the said daughter was trained as a classical singer and her late father had been a musician.  I haven't done any sleuthing to verify any of this (and as ever if this subject has been mentioned before and I haven't uncovered it on this site I tender my apologies).
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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Does accuracy in films matter to audiences? - Page 3 EmptyWed 25 Mar 2020, 18:21

This happened to be the last film I saw before the shutdown. To be honest, I was a bit sceptical about watching it, but when I did see it, thought it was terrific. It really has to be watched on the big screen.

The first part especially, feels as though it is one continual take. 

The director, Sam Mendes, says it is based on an incident in which his grandfather was involved, back in 1917.


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