In the previous blog Entertainment over historical accuracy, the comments received ranged from not being impressed with the film or the depiction of Egypt and the “exodus”, the misinterpretation of information to acceptance that the film industry glosses and loosely portrays the truth. (I hope you’re not out of breath after that long sentence!) We know the main aim of the film industry is to make money. And as my colleague and fellow writer Adam Havarias pointed out, historical movies has generated interest in historical fiction.
As a writer of historical fiction/fantasy, I understand that to create an engaging story one takes creative licence with changing the setting, combining periods, to altering what happens in a certain era. I would say most people are okay with that. It is fiction after all. If the story is done well and keeps the interest of the reader (or movie goers) then the writer has achieved their goal. But is that enough?
I believe research is important; it helps to establish the scenes and immerses the reader into the period who you hope becomes invested in the protagonist and the conflicts faced. In the case of the Ridley Scott’s movie: Exodus Gods and Kings, and as Michalea Moore rightly pointed out, the pyramids were already built long before Ramesses II. Not only that the pyramids weren’t built by slaves. Is this a deliberate oversight to showcase (pardon the pun) the plight of the Jews?
Another element is the depiction of culture, such as clothing, hair styles, living standards, homes, cooking equipment, food and religion. Even if a story may combine centuries, I feel it’s important to research and at least incorporate as close to what the people did and wore during that time. I watched the series Rome, which I really enjoyed, although the costumes the actors wore were not a true representation of the Romans and Egyptians. We know the Egyptians wore kohl (eye liner) and wigs for health reasons, and I am quite sure Cleopatra did not wear sheer clothing on a daily basis, if ever. She was the Queen of Egypt. From the hieroglyphs, only the dancing girls and females who played musical instruments wore such clothing.
While the series Rome may not be entirely accurate, it did show the political agenda and secret goings on which no doubt did occur. The machinations of the senate and the elite of Rome would not be out of place today.
Storytellers have been around for thousands of years, great embellishers of the truth and lore. People have always loved to be entertained; it is a distraction and temporary refuge from stress and problems. I know when reading a good book or watching a movie, I am for that time invested in the story. It is a good mental check out and we all need to take time away from the daily grind.
What are your thoughts on the marriage between fact and fiction? Is it amicable or uneasy?
Thank you for visiting and reading. As always, your comments are valued and welcomed.
Historical fiction fantasist Luciana Cavallaro, a secondary teacher, meanders from contemporary life to delve into the realms of mythology. Subscribe to her FREE short story http://eepurl.com/bhESs1