Friday, February 24, 2012

Old Films, New Films

I haven't posted for a couple of days because I've been busy. Busy watching movies and collecting my thoughts for this post.

This isn't going to be a cheerful post.

I mentioned before about how we have always watched a lot of movies, and how you can learn so much from a film, beyond what the movie is about.

One of the things you can learn is the prevailing attitude about things portrayed in the movie. Sometimes it's obvious, and is part of the plot, other times, not so much. For example, various forms of discrimination can be in either of those positions.

You can also learn things about history that you were never taught in school, if you went to school. Things that are not part of "common knowledge" because history is not always recorded fairly or accurately, and often the very things people need to learn FROM, the things we wish had never happened, are the very things that are hidden or denied.

Last year, I saw a film that had good reviews. I did not know ahead of time what the topic of the film really was.  It was called Sarah's Key, and was about the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup in France in 1942, where the French police rounded up 13,152 Jewish people and shipped them off to concentration camps. Right. The French police, not the Nazis.

I had never heard of this event. Ever. I had no idea it had happened.
I came home from the movie and started looking things up. There is evidently a whole lot of history out there that I've never heard about.

So this past week, I had an assignment to watch two specific films that also fall in a similar category. This time, I was well aware of the general events of the films, but had not seen these excellent examples of propaganda. They are not comfortable to watch, at all. Stomach turning, even.

But they are important.

The first was a Nazi Propaganda film by the name of "Triumph of the Will." A lot of footage of the Hitler Youth, and of Hitler himself, including some speeches. Scenes of HUGE crowds of supporters.

The other was a film called "The Birth of a Nation." This film was banned in some places, and was reportedly used as a recruitment tool for the "second era" Ku Klux Klan.

Not a comfortable warm fuzzy film watching day.
Much to think about- and much I'd rather not think about.
I would not recommend these for small children.

On the good side, so this isn't a totally depressing post... I discovered that youtube has a lot of classic movies available in their entirety. There is a channel called "Openflix" that is well worth exploring if you like old films.

I also came across Cinevault, which claims to have "The Largest Collection of Classic Films Online." This is a great source for films that are in the public domain.

No comments:

Post a Comment