History in Cinema / Cinema in History: Presented by MOB publications

History in Cinema / Cinema in History: Presented by MOB publications

His book has been circulating for a few days now Robert A. Rosenstone and Head “History in Cinema / Cinema in History”.

As reported by PURPLE editions about the new book: “Author: Robert A. Rosenstone
Scientific editing – Introduction: Christos Dermentzopoulos
Translation: Marios Athanasiadis-Donas

It is with great pleasure that we present the new book of MOB editions, which is an original treatise on historical films and their role in the representation of the past. The author confirms the position that if we leave historical films out of the discussion about the meanings of the past, it is as if we are ignoring one of the most important ways of receiving historical events.
This book examines what the film images of yesterday show in the present and how they present them, analyzing famous films such as Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, Sergei Eisenstein’s October and Warren Beatty’s The Reds as well as recent films such as Martin Luther King’s Selma and . The Imitation Game of Alan Turing who cracked the Enigma machine.

History in Cinema / Cinema in History values ​​historical films as a valid means of recreating the past; highlights the need to learn how to read and understand this new visual world; it addresses all those who love cinema and want to get to know each other and explore the close relationship between history, social science, and the medium of film; it is of direct interest to students in film and public history departments because it examines the principles and norms by which historical films document the past, showing ways of useful analysis. they. In addition, it contains the author’s foreword for the Greek edition only, an illustration by Thanasis Vassiliou and a fully updated guide for further studies.

Robert A. Rosenstone is Emeritus Professor of History at the California Institute of Technology, USA. His John Reed Award-winning autobiography Romantic Revolution (1975) served as the basis for Warren Beatty’s award-winning The Reds, for which Rosenstone served as historical consultant. Among his publications stand out: Visions of the Past: A Film Challenge to Our Concept of History (1995), Left Crusade: Lincoln’s Legion in the Spanish Civil War (1969) and Mirror in the Shrine: Meetings of America. and Japan (1988). He also edited: Revisioning History: Film and the Construction of a New Past (1995) and Experiments in Rethinking History (2004). Finally, he is the editor of Rethinking History: Journal of Theory and Practice.
Size: 17×24 Pages: 280 Cover: Soft Weight: 600 gr.
Issue: May 2023 Price: €24.90 ISBN: 978-618-85455-6-4″.

History in Cinema / Cinema in History: Presented by MOB publications

Inside of www.ertnews.gr he spoke o Christos DermentzopoulosProfessor of Anthropology of Art at Panteion University.

-What is the main difference in the perspective of the director and the historian?

-Obviously, these are completely different approaches, both methodological and theoretical. On the part of the director, it is an artistic view on the past with a strong and, often, completely inventive element (we are talking about fictional films), while on the part of the historian, it is a professional view known by. special rules of his discipline. Obviously, these two different perspectives can meet, conditionally, in dealing with the past.

-Are there “requirements” of historical knowledge for the viewer to be able to judge whether a film of historical content presents the main characteristics of the period in question?

– Of course there is none! I don’t think audiences go “reading” to see a film with historical content. Better read some criticism. Clearly, the audience, however, is not a single category. There will be those who know the historical events well, have read about them and go to watch the movie with suspicion. But there are also many who do not know but learn about historical events and historical periods only through movies! Thus, this historical representation educates and orients the public to specific perspectives, as it were, of the past.

Colonel Robert Gould Shaw – Matthew Broderick – leads the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, one of the first African-American Regiments in the American Civil War, in a parade through Boston before leaving for the front in the film Glory (1989).
© AF Archive/Alamy

– In the past there have been arguments about the interpretation of historical periods and the role of people in films based on historical events. Is it legal for the director and the writer of the film to keep the same distance in the interpretations of the period or vice versa to determine one side of the story?

-What the bongo movie artist and/or director will do is his own thing (and obviously the political and ideological issues that affect the relevant interpretation (control, self-control, intention to interfere etc.) Therefore, in the field of art there is no legitimacy or illegal in the old view and interpretation. Even extreme opinions are judged and evaluated.

-Films that deal with historical periods in an unusual way, in relation to the main perspectives of a single subject, have achieved commercial success, what can we attribute this to?

-I think unusual interpretations of events and periods are within the possibilities that artists should see the past with their artistic perspective. If this unusual view of theirs is recognized by the view of a large part of the public, then the film becomes a commercial success. Of course, this rarely happens, because usually the visuals of the film go hand in hand with the official narrative. In the cracks of this official national narrative, films are created that see the past in a different way, and then the director turns into a unique historian who finds forgotten facts from the past and brings them to light by reinterpreting them.

Communist MP Dolores Ibárruri, known as La Pasionaria, addressing the crowd in Frederic Rossif Mourir àMadrid’s historic Civil War documentary (1963).
© Michael Ochs Archives/Stringer

– Story, acting, adaptations on the history of events, movements that are valid for the final result in the cinema, how much should be decided before the showing of the film when it is broadcast, so that the viewer does not confuse the real event that happened, and what is finally the image on the screen?

-Here you refer to the role of criticism. I believe, however, that it is unfair to celebrate films based on their historical credibility. Then we become historians who judge the accuracy with which the past should be presented. There are films that distort the past because, in fact, they want to talk about the present about the event of this past time. Historical anachronisms, for example, present in unusual films of historical content, aim at an oblique examination of the past through new perspectives of interpretation. It is clear that regardless of what we tell the audience beforehand, the power of the image and the medium will set their own perception. They will “add” memories to events that the audience has not experienced or perhaps read about. Therefore, what we must always remember is that cinema remains a form of fiction, sometimes less and sometimes more successful.

-To what extent are historical consultants needed in the film production process, so that it is compatible with the data of the era it refers to in its content?

-It is usually considered absolutely necessary to give prestige to the final result according to the historical context. However, in practice, the writers, producers and directors of the films have the final say regardless of professional advice!

Ron Kovic – Tom Cruise – Marine, left an amputee from a battlefield injury, leads Vietnam Veterans Against the War at the 1968 Republican National Convention in Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July (1989).
© Entertainment Pictures/Alamy

– So, how important are other specialties that help to show each era, such as in the clothing industry, in the hairstyles of each era, in home accessories, the selection of scenery and buildings, etc.

– Talking about the credibility of the era shown on the screen, all these skills are very important to create a convincing “total world” of the past represented and immerse the viewer, through empathy, in the world of the film. . However, as I said, there are also historical films that do not respect honesty in this regard but succeed, however, in the old interpretation they try!

-What is the difference between a historical film and a film?

– After all, it’s not so big. If we exclude ethnographic or direct/verité reality, then most documentaries or documentary films (in fact, what exactly are they recording beyond the point of view of their creators?) are not all that different from fictional films. They “want” to be more different but I don’t think they will succeed in the end!

Jews from Krakow, Poland, driven from their homes, are led to a train station by the trains that will take them to the death camps in Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List (1993).
© Everett Collection Inc./Alamy

Movies mentioned in the book. Film titles as released in Greece are in parentheses.

He was born on the Fourth of July [Γεννημένος την 4η Ιουλίου]Oliver Stone (USA: 1989)
El Perro Negro, Péter Forgács (Hungary: 2005)
Flags of our Fathers [Οι σημαίες των προγόνων μας]Clint Eastwood (USA: 2006)
Frida [Φρίντα]Julie Taymor (USA: 2002)
The Harmonists, Joseph Vilsmaier (Germany: 1997)
Hitler: A film from Germany [Χίτλερ: μία ταινία από τη Γερμανία]Hans Jürgen Syberberg (Germany: 1977)
Thiasos, Theodoros Angelopoulos (Greece: 1975) 140-1
The Imitation Game [Το παιχνίδι της μίμησης]Morten Tyldum (USA: 2014)
JFK [JFK]Oliver Stone (USA: 1991)
Mourir à Madrid, Frederic Rossif (France: 1963)
Dirty Girl, Michael Verhoeven (Germany: 1990)
October [Οκτώβρης]Sergei Eisenstein (Russia: 1928)
Red [Οι Κόκκινοι]Warren Beatty (USA: 1981)
Schindler’s List [Η λίστα του Σίντλερ]Steven Spielberg (USA: 1993)
Selma [Selma]Ava DuVernay (USA: 2014)
Under the ground [Underground]Emir Kusturica (Yugoslavia: 1995)

Interview: Nassos Bratsos