When movies are taken out of context

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Many of my recent reflections on various topics asunder have, in their conclusion, included the fact that context is vital to understanding a situation or a concept. So it won’t come as a surprise that the following four paragraphs, taken from a really well-written piece posted on Den of Geek about the importance of context when criticizing movies:

What it proved to me, personally, was that, if you make the sorts of noises that your audience is receptive to, then you can interpret a film in the most perverse and obtuse fashion and they’ll see value in what you’re proposing. Equally, if you’re not ‘on message’, then you’re interpretation will be rejected however soundly built on logic and reasoning, because it’s not what they want to hear.

So, am I suggesting people stop analysing movies? No, not in the slightest. What I’m directing my bile at is those people who create an interpretation of a movie that fits a model in their heads about how the world really is, or was, and glue it to the work of another who lived in a different era or had an entirely different mindset.

That last point is very important, because the idea that you can apply moral and social standards of today to films made 70 or more years ago is a remarkably stupid premise.

The world was a very different place when, in 1946, Walt Disney released Song Of The South, but these days the company considers the movie so racially insensitive that it has never been released in its entirety on home video in the USA. Just to put anyone straight on this I have no truck with any form of racism in my house as we’re an ethnically mixed bunch, but equally we can’t see that Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah is likely to generate a spontaneous race riot.

Check out the rest of the article here.

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