Ethics and Representation in “Based on a Real Story.”

We’ve all seen movies circling around the Hollywood-sphere that are based on true stories, and or historical events, these range from The Theory of Everything, to Schindler’s List. In a previous blog from last term, my ASTU class talked about representation and what is chosen to be represented and why, so now I would like to bring light to the ethics and representation of the content of these films that find themselves up on the big screen. I want to talk about a quick article titled, “Hollywood Ethics: Should Movies Be Changed Based on Current Events?” This article exclaims the omission of facts or events in movies based off of a true story due to sensitivity of said event. I find that within this there can be much debate. For example, the forfeiting of a historical scene in order to pay respect to the mourning of it is seen as an ethical decision, however considering that it in place then makes for an unjust representation of the actual events?

To get a more specific scope on the alteration of films I found this report: “Honest Truths: Documentary Filmmakers on Ethical Challenges in Their Work.” In this text, many Filmmakers come forth on ways that they manipulated their shots in order to get the content that they wanted. They break it up into two categories, of the subjects and the viewers. Finally, it appears that it comes down to what the viewers want and people are willing to create false scenarios for the entertainment factor over the truth. This specifically coming from documentary filmmakers, I think that it can link to those films that are covering historical events or true stories, as we see many discrepancies between the truth and these films. There is a line that filmmakers are willing to cross in the portrayal of events because they want a better reaction from the viewer. At what point does this take away from important issues and become focused in on the emotional and material aspect of film content? I also think that people are starting to ask these questions and that film may be inching towards accurate depiction as these morals and ethics are coming to light. For a popular example, Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest film, “The Revenant,” is bringing about a lot of discussion of the portrayal of indigenous peoples, and the actor himself is making sure that they are acknowledged and clearly represented. There is much more to be discussed on this matter, and many more questions that arise, and I just wanted to put it out there for now. What do you think?

Thanks for the read,

Tima J

One thought on “Ethics and Representation in “Based on a Real Story.”

  1. I talked about a similar thing in my blog. About media representatives choosing or framing the stories they want to put out to the public. However, the most practical example is with documentaries as you mentioned. Even with Through the Blue Lens, we can say that the policemen put themselves in the position of being better or being superior to the drug addicts on the streets. Overall, I enjoyed the blog very much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *