From: IN%"LIPKIN@wmich.edu" 22-MAY-1995 13:53:17.60
Some thoughts about historical narratives marketed as feature films:
These argue not for historical truth (as would a documentary film) but instead for a moral truth. In doing so films like JFK, Shindler's List, In the Name of the Father, and the others C. James discusses function as melodramas. This is melodrama as Peter Brooks defines it, that is, work that functions to provide/restore a sense of order to a world that has become "desacralized" (lost its sense of right and wrong).
The arguments forwarded by historical narratives are warranted by their resemblances to the original referents. Dramatic license is valid to the extent that it is based on such warrants.
Terms of reception raise further questions of ethics and function: does reaching the feature film audience constitute a clear enough signal that dramatic license is about to be invoked? does such a "blurred boundary" (see Bill Nichols recent book by that title from Indiana U. Press) compromise the validity of the moral argument the film would like to forward?
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