Archive of topics from before June 2012. PM a mod to get one reopened.
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#227226
ezinra wrote:
Malcolm Armsteen wrote:Whatever happened to the willing suspension of disbelief?
It's not about that, it's about exclusion and invisibility. Buffy was immensely popular with gay teens but that's not because gay teens literally believe in vampires.
Is it about gay teens having to watch gay actors or else they aren't engaged? Because that would be a silly argument, wouldn't it? How would it play in reverse - didn't any straight people like Buffy? Do you think most viewers cared about the sexuality of the actors? Or the characters (you have me at a disadvantage here because I've never seen the thing). Or is the whole thing a bit of a flim flam?
Whatever happened to enjoying the performance instead of making it the subject of a politico-sexual dissection?
Like most people, including you, I can do both. There's no one way to view a film or interpret a character. Yesterday we were congratulating ourselves on being able to read critically. Postcolonial, feminist and queer readings are a part of that. Minorities don't have as many real-life role models as dominant groups, so representation in the media is extra important. Is it unfair to ask that they portray themselves from time to time?

Who said it was? I'm saying that a person's sexual preferences don't really affect the rôle they are playing.

It's extremely uncharacteristic, but it sounds as though you're trying to silence alternative opinions here.
Yes. Of course. By arguing with you...
Where does prosthetic makeup stand in this world where everything must be as it seems? After all, it's precisely the same principle, that the art of drama is the projection of reality not the creation of reality itself.
That's the point, all these issues are hotly debated. There was a lot of criticism when Renée Zellwiger was chosen to play Bridget Jones and had to put on weight. Why couldn't that role have provided a break to someone who was genuinely the size of Bridget, it's not as if they're overrepresented in films? The root of the problem is that Hollywood and the media in general are racist, sexist, ableist and all the other -ists and -phobics. When that is no longer the case, there will be no need to redress the balance, and actors will be free to play any role they wish.
Stunning generalisation alert! Perhaps, just perhaps, there were other qualities which caused the casting of Renée Zellwiger, like her acting ability, the range of expressions she can manage. Perhaps her being overweight and unhappy with it would bring something to the character. After all, would we cast Dustin Hoffman for a John Wayne rôle? Cathy Burke playing Marilyn Monroe? Because that's what you're saying.
#227228
oboogie wrote: I find this an interesting contrast to your line a few months ago when we were discussing military re-enactors. On that occasion you seemed to concur with Shyamz (I think it was) that women should be allowed to portray soldiers despite the inherent historical inaccuracy.
Different kettle of fish. They're not wholly accurate (on many levels), and there have been women soldiers - openly so and otherwise - throughout history.

But it's one thing to act another sexuality, and another to act another race. There isn't a taboo or world of history behind straight people pretending to be gay, but there's a lot of racial intolerance and shocking history behind white people 'pretending' to be black, not to mention the centuries of blacks being mistreated and subjugated by white people.
#227229
Malcolm Armsteen wrote:Ah, I see.
The engine for social change is theatre, and specifically sending out casting directors to find actors of precisely the right hue and gender self-definition to suit a character written by - hang on - can only gay writers write gay parts? Can only women write women's parts? Can only black women write black women's parts? Can only straight black women write straight black women's parts?

Or might this be a, you know, creative sort of process in which empathy plays a part, alongside intelligence, creativity and skill?
You're missing the point. When Greg Dyke said the BBC was "hideously white", it wasn't because he didn't trust any of his writers to create a credible black character. He argued that the whole creative and commissioning process, from writing to casting, was dominated by white people, and not coincidentally he found that the Beeb's output did not appeal to black viewers. On those occasions where the BBC did create inauthentic black characters, or limit black actors to stereotypical roles, or produce programmes featuring no black people at all, it was, according to Dyke, because there weren't enough black people in the system challenging the stereotypes and diversifying the representations of black experience.

Hiring Gérard Dépardieu in a curly wig to play a mixed-race character isn't going to improve that.
#227231
You're shifting ground. You started this with a discussion on gay parts being played by gay actors etc. and now we're on to too many white people at the BBC. Which may or may not be true, but isn't what you started arguing.

And you mean Depardieu playing Dumas?

Dumas was, I believe, one eighth black - he had one black great-grandparent. So on average he should be played by a white, rather than black, actor, yes?
Image
Alexandre Dumas - mixed race...


This is all special pleading, Ezinra.
#227236
Malcolm Armsteen wrote:
storygirl wrote:
Malcolm Armsteen wrote:He may not have needed to, but he did.

What do you think of this?

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/pw ... ly-racist/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
In the context of blackface though, Kingsley wan't "blacking up". He was simply wearing make up to look more like the character. I know it seems I am being very picky, but the cultural background is different. Blacking up was offensive not because of the act but how people were portrayed.

I agree completely with the article that it is context that matters.
So Kingsley wasn't wearing blackface makeup he was just wearing makeup that made his face look more black, because although he isn't actually visibly black he's sort of black inside, so that's OK?
Pretty much, yes. Blackface was offensive because of the characters that were portrayed, comic, ignorant, the butt of many jokes. Not because it was a white person portraying a black person. It is interesting, to me at least, that Al Jolson managed to avoid the demeaning and abusive aspects of blackface. I agree with those who say he drew on his Jewish emigre background, and saw the suffering of American blacks as something to be alleviated not mocked.
#227237
Althea wrote:
oboogie wrote: I find this an interesting contrast to your line a few months ago when we were discussing military re-enactors. On that occasion you seemed to concur with Shyamz (I think it was) that women should be allowed to portray soldiers despite the inherent historical inaccuracy.
Different kettle of fish.
Not really. Straight Australian and English actresses shouldn't portray Glaswegian lesbians, yet women should portray men - I see a double standard.
They're not wholly accurate (on many levels), and there have been women soldiers - openly so and otherwise - throughout history.
There have not been women soldiers in every army, in every period of history and, even when present, they were very rarely in combat roles. Which is what we were talking about - women portraying male soldiers.
But it's one thing to act another sexuality, and another to act another race. There isn't a taboo or world of history behind straight people pretending to be gay, but there's a lot of racial intolerance and shocking history behind white people 'pretending' to be black, not to mention the centuries of blacks being mistreated and subjugated by white people.
I completely agree. Not sure why you've included this as it's not something I was arguing.
#227239
Not really. Straight Australian and English actresses shouldn't portray Glaswegian lesbians, yet women should portray men - I see a double standard.
When have I said women should portray men?

There have not been women soldiers in every army, in every period of history and, even when present, they were very rarely in combat roles. Which is what we were talking about - women portraying male soldiers.
Nor did I say that, either. You obviously missed my point about women not always 'openly' being in combat roles. There are many documented cases of women disguising themselves as men in order to fight in combat, and it stands to reason that there are many more undocumented cases.

On top of that, you're talking a not wholly faithful representation of a battle. Aside from maybe a few specific roles, the vast majority are nameless combatants. They are not playing a specific character. It is not unreasonable to allow women to also take part, although one could easily argue it's historically inaccurate - but, then again, so are other aspects.
#227241
On top of that, you're talking a not wholly faithful representation of a battle. Aside from maybe a few specific roles, the vast majority are nameless combatants. They are not playing a specific character. It is not unreasonable to allow women to also take part, although one could easily argue it's historically inaccurate - but, then again, so are other aspects.
You're going to have to help me with that one.
What other aspects?
How do we introduce a (presumably) controlled element of historical inaccuracy into an historically accurate re-enactment?
#227242
ezinra wrote: There was a lot of criticism when Renée Zellwiger was chosen to play Bridget Jones and had to put on weight. Why couldn't that role have provided a break to someone who was genuinely the size of Bridget, it's not as if they're overrepresented in films?
There's a very simple answer to that - capitalism. If you want the studios to bankroll your film you need to convince them that it will be a box office hit. That means having an star in it familiar to American audiences. So we get a slim American actress playing an overweight English character. Surprised you didn't mention the fact that Renée Zellwiger's an American, I'd have thought you'd object to that.
#227243
I'm a few posts behind.
oboogie wrote:Should actors be limited to only portraying their own nationality? Should Euan McGregor not play Englishmen? Should actors be restricted to playing their own sexuality? If you're aiming at authenticity then what about age? Or occupation? I think you're underestimating the ability of actors to portray characters who are in various ways different to themselves.
It has nothing to do with ability — well, only when it's Sean Connery and he's supposed to be doing a Spanish accent. Englishmen are not under-represented in cinema and have not historically been sidelined or excluded from movies. There has been criticism that Englishmen are too often cast as villains by Hollywood — I think that's valid, even though it's not a stereotype that has much of an impact. Personally, the representation of England and English people in films like Notting Hill makes me want to throw popcorn at the screen.
I find this an interesting contrast to your line a few months ago when we were discussing military re-enactors. On that occasion you seemed to concur with Shyamz (I think it was) that women should be allowed to portray soldiers despite the inherent historical inaccuracy.
It's not about accuracy, it's a question of inclusion. Nobody gets together to re-enact the daily lives of medieval washerwomen, so if a woman wants to participate in a re-enactment, there are few alternative opportunities. In those cases, I think 21st century values (eg, diversity, inclusion) should take precedence over historical accuracy, which is going to be relative anyway. As you point out, the line has to be drawn somewhere — why should gender be a determining factor? Why allow men with Irish surnames to take part or anyone over about six feet tall?
#227246
Althea wrote:Not really. Straight Australian and English actresses shouldn't portray Glaswegian lesbians, yet women should portray men - I see a double standard.
When have I said women should portray men?
You didn't. Ezrina did in the comment to which I was replying.
There have not been women soldiers in every army, in every period of history and, even when present, they were very rarely in combat roles. Which is what we were talking about - women portraying male soldiers.
Nor did I say that, either. You obviously missed my point about women not always 'openly' being in combat roles. There are many documented cases of women disguising themselves as men in order to fight in combat, and it stands to reason that there are many more undocumented cases.
I didn't miss it, I ignored it because it wasn't relevant.
Last edited by oboogie on Sat May 19, 2012 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
#227247
Malcolm Armsteen wrote: You're going to have to help me with that one.
What other aspects?
How do we introduce a (presumably) controlled element of historical inaccuracy into an historically accurate re-enactment?
Except, as ezinra pointed out, they're not wholly accurate.

Which was my precise point.
#227248
It's not about accuracy, it's a question of inclusion. Nobody gets together to re-enact the daily lives of medieval washerwomen, so if a woman wants to participate in a re-enactment, there are few alternative opportunities. In those cases, I think 21st century values (eg, diversity, inclusion) should take precedence over historical accuracy, which is going to be relative anyway. As you point out, the line has to be drawn somewhere — why should gender be a determining factor? Why allow men with Irish surnames to take part or anyone over about six feet tall?
I hope you are being ironic.
Of course it's about accuracy - look at the wok done by the Watling Street mob in archaeological reconstruction.
If women want to form a society to re-enact the daily lives of medieval women (and I suggest you read Barbara Hanawalt before you get sniffy about their achievements) then there's absolutely nothing stopping them. And if they want to include men dressed as medieval women, that's up to them.

You might also look at the men and women who are 're-enacting' the Luttrell Psalter, too.

It still boils down to - you object to a white man playing the part of someone who was one-eighth black, but you don't object to someone playing the part of a male when they are 100% female.
#227249
Althea wrote:
Malcolm Armsteen wrote: You're going to have to help me with that one.
What other aspects?
How do we introduce a (presumably) controlled element of historical inaccuracy into an historically accurate re-enactment?
Except, as ezinra pointed out, they're not wholly accurate.

Which was my precise point.
I repeat, what other aspects?
#227253
Malcolm Armsteen wrote: I repeat, what other aspects?
Well, look at ezinra's post. You could go from anything to surnames, to heights, to builds, (facial) hair styles, the way you speak and so forth. Do all these people at mediaeval re-enactments speak in Middle English? What about those who do things about the Roman Legionnaires? Do they speak 'colloquial' Latin (i.e. a dialect that would have been used), or do they speak textbook Latin? Which is more accurate?

Including women doesn't destroy the suspension of disbelief, to go back to an earlier point of yours. There's mediaeval re-enactment groups with female jousters, and they're no less capable than the men. Maybe not fully historically accurate, sure, but the effect is the same. What's important during these re-enactments is the 'story' that's being told, not the actors playing the parts.
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