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« TIFF '13: The Past | Main | Telluride '13: Gravity »

September 4, 2013


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Roger Standen

Strange that nobody has mentioned Mandingo, a much-maligned and important work from the 70s.


I would also like to add that I like Walter Chaw's reviews even when I don't agree with him. I find them intelligent and interesting. I read his reviews for insight and his opinion not just to disagree with him.


@MidwestPride that's not very kind to call someone pathetic. I go to the cinema for emotional truth in the narrative. This film is not a documentary or 'This film is completely 100 percent based on". The emotional truth is there.

You must not like a single historical film or biopic. The majority of filmmakers change things to work in the spirit of the film and piece. Nobody knows what went on unless you were there. Nobody can recall a private conversation. It's all made up. When I see one of Shakespeare's history plays I don't look for the many details that are incorrect. I am looking for the honestly of the piece. When I go see a ballet or opera based on a real person or real event I don't rip a part the things that might not have happened.

The book 12 Years A Slave is there. Part of the public domain. I read it as a separate work than what the film maker did. There are also 100s of non fiction slave narratives that are available in the public domain that show that what happened on the slave ship in Steve Mcqueen's film is really true of the period.

@MidwestPride I am sorry you didn't like the movie. I thought it was transcendent but I wouldn't call you pathetic for not agreeing.


Walter, very good review. You seemed honest in what you liked and gave credit. You also did something that movie critics rarely do when reviewing such movies like 12 Yrs a A Slave: You did not shy away from historical and book/narrative inaccuracies.


@ Jonny: Typical response.

As to what you quoted, it is manipulation, and a lie, because it's not an accurate depiction of what happened. If a man (black) died of smallpox instead of the hands of a another man (white), but the director/producer/screenwriter writes it in a way to put blame on the man (white) then that's changing history for entertainment purposes and emotions.

But of course your "saw a completely different film" and "necessary because it was common," statements tells me that you have no interest in truth, just emotions. Pathetic.


This guy saw a completely different film than me. 12 years a slave directed by steve Mcqueen is a masterpiece.

"Why, for instance, would one portray the death of a black conspirator on a slaver ship bound for Louisiana at the hand of a white crewman about to rape a sympathetic figure, when the document reveals this conspirator was taken by smallpox? For the sake of drama? Were the roles reversed, this kind of narrative manipulation would take on a decidedly different hue. "

Because it was to show the brutal reality of the time. It was necessary because it was common. It is the truth of slavery so I hardly find it manipulation.

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