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3/09/2014 11:29 am  #11


Re: 12 Years a Slave

robinhoo wrote:

@Pixie Boots, thanks so much for your thoughts; your post was such an interesting read! I'm more motivated than ever to see the movie now, so that I can interact more intelligently with what you're saying. Maybe I'll get a chance to see it on Thursday. I must lay my plans!

I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I'd definitely be interested to hear your thoughts when you see it. c: I'm really glad it got a wider theatrical release, I had to rush out to see it at our local art house cinema which doesn't always have movies for very long and it was pretty much the only place playing it in a hundred mile radius. B(

Nethilia wrote:

Pixie Boots wrote:

*Snipped for length*

As they say, your post gave me life. This is probably one of the best analysis I've seen for the movie that doesn't immediately focus on the whole "But Brad Pitt saved him and Mrs. Epps suffered too and anyways slavery was forever ago and some masters were nice" bullshit that generally comes with movies on slavery and Civil Rights. From what you tell me, this movie doesn't have White Saviors. I'm still likely to freak out watching, but that helps.

When I saw GwtW and Scarlett--who we're supposed to ID with as the damned heroine--threatened to sell Prissy south, I had a micro meltdown. I just couldn't.

I don't know if I've just been wandering around pockets of the internet where people aren't saying that (because I'm sure people are, thanks humanity), but honestly most of the analysis of the film I've seen has definitely skewed on the wow, people are horrible side of the spectrum. Anyway, glad to help! I honestly think this film does a great job of trying to make people who feel that way feel incredibly uncomfortable for thinking that way, particularly with Mrs. Epps holy crap.

cactusflower702 wrote:

I think movies like 12 Years a Slave have a place. They do teach history. But they teach a rather nice packaged version of it. Solomon Northup is like the Schindler Jews. One of history's lucky ones. He went through hell, but he got out. Most black people did not, and the ones who survived the freeing of the slaves in the 1860s ended up poor sharecroppers. But you will never see that on the big screen - it doesn't make money, it won't make people feel good, and it doesn't fit in a nice box that shows the good of the world. I didn't get that any of the white people were benevolent in this movie at all, save for perhaps the shopkeeper in the end. Most of them would do something nice - of their own selfish ends.

See, I don't really agree with this. Yes, Solomon gets a happy ending (sort of, because we don't know what actually happened to him, and scholars are kind of torn on whether or not he died of natural causes or was murdered; from what research I've done on the subject it seems like more people think the former because the latter would have drawn more attention and/or Solomon was too old/far away for someone from his time as a slave to take violent revenge against him, I've even heard some people think he just went out west to get away from the horrors of his time down south and died in obscurity), but I'd like to point out again that this movie is literally two and a half hours of watching absolutely disgusting things happen to people without much time to breathe between scenes, and the scene at the end where Solomon says goodbye to Patsey does a really good job of rubbing it in your face that Solomon is free, but no one else is and no one is coming to save them. This isn't a traditional feel good ending, and honestly Solomon's ambiguous fate makes it even moreso. I definitely agree that Hollywood is and will be pretty terrible about making a movie that just tells say, Patsey's experience because they want a film that will make money and that probably wouldn't because it would just be unrelentingly upsetting and the public enjoys at least a ray of hope at the end, but again, if someone leaves the theater being like man thank god he got out, I feel so good about humanity right now, they should maybe watch the movie again because that's really not what the creators were going for.

I'm definitely not saying this movie is flawless and totally free of Hollywood nonsense, but I really don't think it's the typical prepackaged history most movies offer, and that's part if why it's an exceptional film.


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3/12/2014 10:58 pm  #12


Re: 12 Years a Slave

Pixie Boots wrote:

cactusflower702 wrote:

I think movies like 12 Years a Slave have a place. They do teach history. But they teach a rather nice packaged version of it. Solomon Northup is like the Schindler Jews. One of history's lucky ones. He went through hell, but he got out. Most black people did not, and the ones who survived the freeing of the slaves in the 1860s ended up poor sharecroppers. But you will never see that on the big screen - it doesn't make money, it won't make people feel good, and it doesn't fit in a nice box that shows the good of the world. I didn't get that any of the white people were benevolent in this movie at all, save for perhaps the shopkeeper in the end. Most of them would do something nice - of their own selfish ends.

See, I don't really agree with this. Yes, Solomon gets a happy ending (sort of, because we don't know what actually happened to him, and scholars are kind of torn on whether or not he died of natural causes or was murdered; from what research I've done on the subject it seems like more people think the former because the latter would have drawn more attention and/or Solomon was too old/far away for someone from his time as a slave to take violent revenge against him, I've even heard some people think he just went out west to get away from the horrors of his time down south and died in obscurity), but I'd like to point out again that this movie is literally two and a half hours of watching absolutely disgusting things happen to people without much time to breathe between scenes, and the scene at the end where Solomon says goodbye to Patsey does a really good job of rubbing it in your face that Solomon is free, but no one else is and no one is coming to save them. This isn't a traditional feel good ending, and honestly Solomon's ambiguous fate makes it even moreso. I definitely agree that Hollywood is and will be pretty terrible about making a movie that just tells say, Patsey's experience because they want a film that will make money and that probably wouldn't because it would just be unrelentingly upsetting and the public enjoys at least a ray of hope at the end, but again, if someone leaves the theater being like man thank god he got out, I feel so good about humanity right now, they should maybe watch the movie again because that's really not what the creators were going for.

I'm definitely not saying this movie is flawless and totally free of Hollywood nonsense, but I really don't think it's the typical prepackaged history most movies offer, and that's part if why it's an exceptional film.

 
Its not fully typical, no, but it does fit that neat little package thing. My dad is a history buff and his time period of choice is the Civil War. We both love to study history in our spare time (I prefer the 1920s onwards, and world history to boot) and over the years I've heard some nasty things about the Civil War and slavery over the years. If was still in Utah, and living near my folks, I'd ask if I could scan some of his books. History has taught me that humans can be really, just - there is no word in any language that can describe my feelings here - disgusting towards each other. The Civil War era, and the entire time that this country had slaves, are, like the Holocaust, times that show the disgusting capabilities of what humans can do to each other.

It was very easy to disappear during the Civil War. Either to forge a new life, or to save slaves, or to kill someone you (generic) wanted gone. Abolitionists, contrary to what I've read and seen over the years, did not get away with freeing the slaves lightly. Abolitionists came from all over the place, were of all races (even Native Americans freed the slaves), some were even slave owners and others slaves. Quite a few ended up dead. Whatever happened Northup no one will know, but the dismal books I've read and seen and heard of state that a lot of abolitionists ended up dead. Northrup was an avowed abolitionist, and a black one at that. It would not have been too much for a pro-slave person in the south to off someone they perceived to be a thief, not to mention someone they (generic) perceived to be beneath them.

A full-out study of the history of slavery in this country reads a lot like the Holocaust. It was a dark time in the history of this country. I'm not sure I want to gross people out by talking at length about what happened to slaves beyond lynchings, women (and only women, per Hollywood, which is not accurate) being raped, and families being separated. It was much worse than that. Just to read it on paper makes me sick.

 

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