Saturday, November 09, 2013
How I Bailed on TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE...
But I thought this director was a more serious film-maker and would treat the subject with more respect and ground it in a more authentic story since it was based on a memoir. The Tarantino film seemed to engage in torture porn--if there is such a thing--and I was sure this one would be more rigorous in its approach
I lasted 50 minutes and then paced the lobby while Phil and our friend, Mel Small, a historian, finished the film. So I cannot review the film or even comment on its merits. What I did see did not seem particularly artful or less generic than the other films about slavery I have seen. The world is painted very much in black and white. And I don't mean that racially. Or perhaps I do.
Going into this film, my thought was if slaves could endure their treatment, I could manage to watch it. In a theater of all black patrons with the exception of us, I was the only one to walk out, making me a coward. When I mentioned this once to a black friend after Django, she said, "Well, we have lived with this story our whole life. Watching it affirms that it happened."
And I guess this is also why Jewish friends seem able to bear films about concentration camps more easily than I can. They feel none of the guilt (in both cases that I feel). I feel guilt at being a part of the group that allowed such things to happen.
Related to this, I will not see THE BOOK THIEF, which managed to convey the idea that a lot of Germans were as much a victim as the Jews in the book. I cannot go along with that idea because it is one step closer to denying the Holocaust for me. My book group loved the book but I found it turned the war into a fairy tale at points.
I am drifting all over the place here, but what I want to ask is what things would make you put a book down or walk out of a theater? I have walked out of only four films, I think, and all for different reasons. But this is probably the film I should have sat through. I will always feel like a coward for bailing on this one.