Given the timing – ouch!

4I took my kids to see Harriet last weekend.  This is the third film attempt to do Harriet Tubman justice.  It is good. But as a history buff pretty well versed on her life and the abolitionist movement, I find it necessary to acknowledge the accuracies and point out the inaccuracies, some of which are of major importance and others minor.  As I’m writing about the film, I will note whether I deem the inaccuracy “major” or “minor.”  By major I mean an inaccuracy which creates a serious misconception to the detriment of the understanding of the events and occurrences.  By minor I mean those which are trivial and perhaps justified in poetic license, as I do not expect a film to simply throw history onto a paint-by-numbers canvass, but rather to generate an impression which improves the viewers understanding and sense of the history.

The first Tubman film was released in the 1960s where she was played by Ruby Dee.  I’ve never seen that one.  A second film entitled “A Woman Called Moses” was a made-for-TV film aired in the 1970s.  It was okay – maybe more historically accurate than Harriet, but poorly written and even Cicely Tyson’s talent couldn’t salvage the script.

As I expected, Harriet is a very effective film to introduce her to the younger generations, hopefully inspiring some of them to read up.  Unfortunately, some of the compromises were made to generate an action movie to include typical chases and gun fights.

You know the story.  Harriet Tubman is a slave and is going to be separated from her family as the widow slave owner has to sell off slaves to save her farm.  Tubman escapes and makes her way to Philadelphia where she makes contact with the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society.  She joins the very Underground Railroad which assisted her escape and risks capture or worse to conduct 13 incursions into the south to free slaves.  Then the war breaks out and she’s a scout, spy, and possibly leads (but certainly participates) in an assault/rescue mission freeing over 700 slaves.  Then she lives in relative peace, becomes a suffragette, and dies at 91.

I seriously hope that wasn’t spoilers for anyone over 20.

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Who didn’t see this coming?

This is getting to sound like the Game of Thrones.

Excerpts by Anonymous.  Tillerson or Kelly the author?  Or is Haley just making things up for her own benefit?

“It’s like showing up at the nursing home at daybreak to find your elderly uncle running pantsless across the courtyard and cursing loudly about the cafeteria food, as worried attendants tried to catch him,” the author writes, according to the Post. “You’re stunned, amused, and embarrassed all at the same time. Only your uncle probably wouldn’t do it every single day, his words aren’t broadcast to the public, and he doesn’t have to lead the US government once he puts his pants on.”

 

Is this why Trump won’t let him testify?

You’ve been screaming about the private hearings, demanding that they be public so Steve Jordan can throw tantrums as distraction.

But now Trump says he doesn’t want public hearings.

Are we at war with Eurasia or Oceana?

It’s been years since I’ve watched Reilly Ace of Spies. I’ve never read the book, but the British series of the early 1980s is one of the most nuanced film depictions of very complex political situations I’ve ever seen. There are no heroes or villains in it. You may root for one side or the other, but if you’re really paying attention you will understand the positions and motivations of each character. And I will say, again, that Lenin is depicted in the most nuanced way I’ve seen in any film. He makes some bloody decisions, but it’s a very messy bloody time. I’ll leave it at that.

 

I remember watching this scene in college, and then again about 15 years ago. I should probably watch the whole thing again. The Social Revolutionaries were one of many tendencies of the Russian Revolution and they found themselves in opposition to the Bolsheviks which left them in a very bad position after the latter dissolved the Constituent Assembly which followed the Revolution. The SR’s continued to oppose the Bolshevik suppression of all other tendencies, and I have no idea if it was historically accurate but in the story all of the men in the Moscow branch of SR have been imprisoned and executed. The women continue to oppose the Bolsheviks clandestinely, and converse with Reilly for possible help from the outside. It all leads to a very memorable confrontation between Reilly and Lenin, and in that moment you definitely side with Lenin. But then one of the SR women attempted to assassinate Lenin (critically wounding him and that really did happen). When Reilly’s plans all fall apart, the women are then put to death. I have no idea if the characters in the video are based upon real people in history.

 

The thing is, and I won’t go into the details in this post, but if I had been Russian and living through the time in question and my politics were anything like they were when I was in my 20s, I would probably have been an SR, and would probably have been killed. So I really identify with these women and what is moving is how they face their deaths together. It’s chilling and moving. And cinematically, I think this scene symbolizes the death of the Russian Revolution.

 

It’s not easy to watch. But whoever Amy is, she was obviously as moved as I by this scene. Whenever I think about the series, this scene comes first to mind. It takes place in Episode 7, entitled “Endgame.”

 

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