- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 1144 Hour
- Reading permission
History Distorted by Hollywood?|
Thailand's censorship committee has banned Jodie Foster's latest film Anna and the King on the grounds that it is an insult to the monarchy and a distortion of Thai history.
The story is based on the journals of a 19th century English governess, Anna Leonowens, in the court of King Rama IV.
But critics say that Leonowens' exaggerated her influence on the king, a moderniser of old Siam, and Western accounts of their relationship portray the king as a fool.
Some comments that readers made:
"Hollywood once again has presented a distorted picture of our history to the world. They expect you to believe that Anna, a women of dubious background, was able to influence a monarch far more educated and far sighted than herself."
"The movie is racist and colonialist. That so many westerners don't seem to know that or if they do, don't take offence, is the real worry."
"It's portrayal of a culture as "exotic", it's custom barbaric, thus in desperate need to be "civilised", is reminiscent of the backwards ideas of Colonialism. Wouldn't we like to think that we are so far beyond such rudimentary stupidity?"
"To all people who are saying "this is just an entertainment, it is just a movie", I have only one thing to say, it is not a mistake that shows the king wears green shoe, instead of blue. But it says the king and the country was in the darkness, and one wondrous western woman took them out of that darkness. If it is historically untrue, even though I am not a Thai, it hurts me. Get over with your pride western world, the eastern civilisation is much deeper rooted and ancient, all you have to do is to concentrate in your junior school history books."
"I have always thought that this story and the movies based on it are insulting, patronising and racist."
"Bravo for Thailand! It's about time nations started banning films which rewrite history through the eyes of foreigners."
"Hollywood certainly has a distorted view of the eastern culture and traditions....When the Hollywood is ignorant of such simple facts how can one expect them to be truthful of history when it involves a Western character (Always smarter) and an Eastern one (Always a fool, no matter what he represents)."
"Hollywood always amazes me. Its ability to mislead people is tremendous."
"Hollywood is an industry that caters mainly to the Western world and as such it feels that it has the license to distort facts to make its own people look good. How many movies have we seen that show the horrible history that the west has? But even when dealing with the history of another country they feel that changes can be made which will portray the person closer to their audience in a favourable light while playing with the history of another country for their profit."
"I have never ever seen any American or European made films have correct attitude toward the East or even respect the wisdom of the East."
"The film portrays the west as an eternally impeccable and flawless body."
"The West has often exaggerated its importance in other continents. In fact over inflated Western egos have bought about the division of the nations into 1st, 2nd and 3rd World classifications."
"Every account of ancient Asia I have seen in Western movies (be it tales of ancient India, China, or the Middle East) is horribly inaccurate. The main goal of Western moviemakers is to perpetuate long-held, baseless, patently false stereotypes and to ultimately portray the "Western man's influence" as the only redeeming portion of the story. So it is with Anna and the King. Kudos to the Thai government for banning this film. If it is an insult to their history, portraying some incorrect Euro-centric version of history, then the world is better off without it."
"Western filmmakers are bound by western history books. Western historians have always had a penchant for weighing events in their own cultural context."
"I am pretty sure that not enough efforts are taken to research on history. The fact that movies with very similar scripts have been made earlier show a kind of continuation of racist psychology and superiority complex with which most of the western hemisphere suffers from."
'History is as it is told. Hollywood with its tremendous reach can indeed redefine history. This film will be the sole source of information about King Rama IV for most people - and Hollywood has an added responsibility to see that history is not rewritten. The same goes for films based on a "true story".'
"Western attitude towards Asian countries, people and history has always left much to be desired. I happen to see it all the time around me here in the States. The west really needs to look at history and see their dark past and barbaric treatment of people around the world."
[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-2-19 08:21 AM ]