As any of you that have been reading along know, the last two weeks I have been interested in the Civil War. Last night I watched Lincoln. It was the second time I have seen it and it is really an extraordinary film. Although there are a few scenes that seem a little too symbolic, and because of this aren’t believable as reality, overall it is really well done. Maybe its best attribute is it really makes one think about the nature of politics.
Anyway, I wanted to watch another movie on that time period tonight. I was doing an internet search and the truth is there are very few excellent movies that deal in that historical period. I find that very strange. Is that because we are afraid of really exploring a war in which half of the country was on the wrong side of justice? Is it just that it is too long ago and, unlike World War II and Vietnam, we are too far removed from it?
It is becoming clearer and clearer to me that in order to understand modern America, one must be able to have some understanding of what happened during that time period. Works of drama are more accessible than most history. Good dramatizations can also often bring out certain truths, even if they contains slight elements of fiction, in ways that documentaries or even history books cannot. They can connect people emotionally to something they might not otherwise understand or be interested in.