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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive

Re: General background for some of us non-historia

Dear Tony and Lee, et al,

As a white female who is also a filmmaker, I want to say that I am ashamed and disappointed in Anthony Minghella for not caring whether he represented our history accurately. I will not be going to see Cold Mountain - although my husband snuck out and saw it without me and said that it is embarrassingly bad for more reasons than just its historical inaccuracies and lack of heart. And I do not believe that if Minghella was making a movie about his own history that he would be as cavalier about representing it. His other European based movies have been very historically accurate. However, I also agree with Lee that its great to live in a country where people can make their movies as they see fit -- and where I can chose to support those movies by spending my dollars on them or not - as I see fit.

Nonetheless, I think that every filmmaker of heart has a responsibility to be as honest as they can in their portrayal of historical subjects. That does not mean that they have to be historically completely accurate, as that can make for a boring or undramatic movie and creative license is important for a filmmaker. But if you are honest with your subject, you do your research, and you care about the deeper human messages that you send in how you present history, then you will make a movie that represents basic truths, as opposed to truthful details. From what I hear Mr. Minghella did not make an honest movie in Cold Mountain. Even though it's main theme was its love story, to write a film that portrays the civil war without accurately representing the horrors of slavery and the humanity of black people and their role in fighting for their freedom, even if the main characters are white, is to make a heartless and dishonest movie. And it misses a great and important opportunity to educate all those " white women" and their boyfriends, who are going to see a love story that also happens to be set during the Civil War. Like it or not, this is often where we learn our history nowadays, and every choice made to show the truth is deeply important. When Clint Eastwood cast Morgan Freeman as a black cowboy in The Unforgiven, a role which could just as easily have been cast white, he educated thousands of people who had no idea that there even were black cowboys.

I am really grateful to everyone who has been discussing this issue, and glad that I got the heads up about the inaccuracies of Cold Mountain in time to boycott it and to give my friends the information so that they can chose whether to boycott or not. I will probably rent it eventually, because as a filmmaker it is important to see the mistakes that others make, but I will not patronize it in the theaters.

Take care,


Ps. Tony, will you forward this to Lee and Eric, as I don't know who they are and don't thing their emails are on the one you sent me.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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