What are examples of at least two films you have seen that you feel have either influenced society or were directly influenced from an event that we collectively experienced.
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Here's one, rather obvious: Gone with the Wind. Except for the specific characters and their interactions, the entire film is based on the American Civil War. Romantic as the movie's portrayal of "happy" slaves and benevolent masters may be, the scorn of house slaves for field slaves, the loyalty of many freed slaves to their former masters, the wooing of freed slaves by unscrupulous politicians, and the devastation of plantation economy are all drawn from reality. The burning of Atlanta, the horrors of wartime "medicine," the squalor and starvation of returning troops from both armies, the proliferation of widows and bereft families, the hatred of Confederates for Yankees -- these are drawn from the collective experience of those who endured them. Southern belles and country gentlemen were real; the rape of southern women only hinted at when Yankee boots clomp up a staircase was real; the ravaging of what few possessions the defeated southerners might retain -- these were based on history. Although parts of the film do ignore the ugly realities of slavery, most of it equates precisely with the collective experience of the generation who fought the Civil War and of the generation which followed and tried to rebuild the South.
There are many films that attempt to capture collective events. For example, there are a lot of movies about World War II and the effect on the home front. This is something that many Americans experienced together. There are movies about nearly every war experience. They also influence how we feel about the war.
I have to disagree with the post about Gone With the Wind, which is more of a movie based on Southern memory as expressed through "Lost Cause" mythology than on historical understanding of the events of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Practically every trope of the Lost Cause is paraded out in both Mitchell's book and the film. If the filmmakers had been interested in portraying the collective experience of the generation that lived through Reconstruction, they would have included the Ku Klux Klan, violent coups d'etat to overthrow Republican governments like the one in South Carolina, "race riots" that saw hundreds of blacks killed in cities like New Orleans and Memphis, to name just two--in short, the use of terror and political horsetrading to restore white supremacy in the South. While the post correctly praises its treatment of the trauma endured by white Southerners, Gone with the Wind is a great movie that unfortunately has perpetuated a vision of a world that, according to the historical record, never existed.
A number of films have been made in response to the attacks on the World Trade Centers in 2001, including one film about the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania, United 93.
This event has not been translated to cinema in a complete way - at least not as complete as I would expect - so we'll most likely see more films on the subject in the future.
The Siege with Denzel Washington is actually a pre 9/11 movie about a terrorist plot in NY. I think it is a great example of the undercurrent that people were feeling about terrorism and what it could be after the first World Trade Center attack and the numerous embassy and other bombings that were occuring more and more frequently in the years preceding 9/11. It is also very eerie to watch how accurately they portray the fear, and feelings, and responses that indeed did occur after 9/11, even though this movie is pre 9/11.
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