As Good as
Spielberg's Lincoln is - it is Still a Work of Fiction (El Tiempo,
about 'historical' films or 'historical' novels presents a contradiction in
terms. History is based on documents and archives, while fiction is imagination
and representation. On the other hand, I think it would be a grave error to
underestimate the immense value of the great novels and films that address
historical themes in an intelligent way, especially when they present ideas to
us that we had never considered, like happened to me when viewing Lincoln."
recently-released Steven Spielberg film that has yet to open in Colombia, has
created a splendid space for discussion involving film critics, historians,
politicians, journalists, novelists and essayists; and in the United States, it
has even turned into a topic of conversation at parties and meetings.
The film has been hailed as a masterpiece by most
critics, and praise for the director, actors and screenwriter has been abundant
Comments about the film's political message have nearly
overwhelmed news pages. A few days after the reelection of Barack Obama, the
movie premiered at the White House. And now that the political class is
debating how to prevent the country from falling over a fiscal cliff created by
incompetence, there has been no end to political commentaries suggesting that members
of Congress should be obliged to watch the film. The hope is that by watching
Lincoln pull strings in Congress in order to reach a deal vital to the nation, Congress
members would learn to face up to their jobs like professionals.
Historians have also praised the film's screenplay for
its fidelity to historical fact, even though it is recognized that some
incidents have been magnified and others ignored. Furthermore, teachers are
already recommending that the movie be shown in elementary schools across the
I fully agree with critics who commend the film. I liked
it a lot, for its cinematographic value, for the way in which the director
develops the narrative, for its rhythm and unity, for extraordinary performance
of the actors, for the simplicity of the cinematography, for the lucid
efficiency of the script, and for the plausibility of the plot. And although I
think a film should be judged in cinematographic terms, I confess that the
movie helped me better understand the historical greatness of President
Lincoln. I was very impressed by this compelling example of how a man's moral
determination could achieve dramatic progress in the fight for racial equality
in his country.
highlighted a scene in which Lincoln showed a profound sense of culture and how
to express it with stunning ease. During
a casual conversation with two young telegraphists
and an engineer, Lincoln explains the principle that summarizes his view of Euclidian thought. I
imagine that at that moment in history, when the nation debated whether Blacks
were human beings equal to Whites, Euclidian principle weighed heavily on his
said Euclid taught him, "things that are equal to the same thing, are equal
to each other."
Posted by Worldmeets.US
However, I refuse to accept that a film be judged by its
historical value, because I think that this one, like a novel, is an
imaginative recreation of events that don't necessarily represent historical truth.
I cannot deny that novelists like Leo Tolstoy, Honore
de Balzac or Thomas Mann
wrote visions of Russia, France and Germany with more clarity than many
historians. However, their works are still fiction, and their truths are poetic
and not historic.
I think talking about "historical" films or "historical"
novels presents a contradiction in terms. History is based on documents and
archives, while fiction is imagination and representation. On the other hand, I
think it would be a grave error to underestimate the immense value of the great
novels and films that address historical themes in an intelligent way, especially
when they present ideas to us that we had never considered, like happened to me
when viewing Lincoln.