Blog Post #2, Question 7

by mdigs23 on December 6, 2017 - 4:21pm

7. How do historical films affect our understanding of history and historical events? For this question, you may want to choose a specific film and discuss the broader nature of the event(s) it is trying to present.

Historical films affect our understanding of history and historical events by visually showing the viewer parts of history and historical events that may of otherwise not been heard of. This is done by means of allowing the viewer to visually interpret those past events, through the dramatic re-enactment of history, told in the most historically accurate way possible. For this question I will refer to the film Selma. Directed by Ava DuVernay in 2014, this film focuses on the March on Selma, racism, hate-crimes, and police violence. By viewing Selma, we as an audience can better comprehend a specific part of history, a part of history that may not be well known to a majority of people, that part being the March on Selma, the people who made this historical event possible, the inner workings of the civil rights movement and the various iconic figures that play key roles in the fight against injustice. This historical film can affect our understanding of history by visually portraying the historical events that took place in during this period, that being an epic three month period in1965, when Martin Luther King lead a dangerous march to Selma Alabama in order to secure equal voting rights, all while under violent opposition. Without the visual aid of this film, many historical moments in the fight for justice would not have as much light shed upon them, some examples of this in the film Selma come from the stories of Minister James Reeb, Viola Liuzzo and Jimmy Lee Jackson. In the film Minister James Reeb gets attacked by white supremacists and ultimately looses his life, the same happens to Viola Liuzzo who also participates in the March on Selma and is murdered in cold blood by the Ku Klutz Klan. They are both killed for their participation and belief in what the march and what it stood for. The film allows us to fully comprehend those moments of injustice, affecting our understanding of this event by visually showing how people of all colour and walks of life participated in this epic event. Another example of this in the film is Jimmy Lee Jackson’s death, without the aid of this film some would not be able to fully understand what the film is trying to put forth, the conclusion that racism is non-sense, how it should be a thing of the past, and how racism can lead one to violence and murder. Although it may be hard in any case to come to a conclusion on why these injustices take place, film allows the audience to come to a better understanding of past events. After viewing a film, it is then up to the individual to come to their own logical conclusion on the films past events, but there is no doubt in my mind that historical films such as Selma, have an affect on our understanding of history and historical events by helping interpret these past events with dramatic and accurate re-enactments of history and historical events.

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