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Letters | The ring of truth in fact-based films

When film depicts history, accuracy should be a measure of its worth

Your movie critic, Ty Burr, commented last Sunday on the use of distortions in historical movies (“Truthiness or consequences,” Page A1, Feb. 24). In that light, I was disappointed that “Argo” won the best picture Oscar rather than, say, “Life of Pi.” If a movie is depicting a purely imaginary story, then anything goes. But if it is supposed to be a dramatization of an actual historic event, then the accuracy of that depiction should enter into the evaluation of its worth.

When a movie is shown on TV, it is preceded by a statement saying that the film has been modified to fit the contours of the screen. It would be similarly appropriate for a quasi-documentary to be preceded by a statement declaring that the events in the movie have been modified to fit the illusions that viewers may have been brainwashed to accept.

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The whole Iran hostage affair was a hubristic exercise of transferring blame from the United States to Iran. It wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t been meddling in Iranian affairs. Affleck, in his acceptance speech, should have also thanked Leni Riefenstahl, the Nazi-era filmmaker, for her groundbreaking demonstration of the use of propaganda in films for the glorification of nationalism.

Berge Tatian


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