Dear friends — two different posts by two brilliant, but very different writers got me thinking about this question today. One friend posted that she thought ARGO was an ok movie, but says it would have been better if had been real. Another writer who is an acquaintance posted a thoughtful, highly-critical analysis of ZERO DARK THIRTY and its representation of gender and torture.
Right now I am reading Sayed Kashua’s critically acclaimed novel Second Person Singular. It’s a realist novel about an Arab Israeli lawyer who is reading Tolstoy. Kashua is an Israeli Arab writer writing in Hebrew. It’s interesting to me that he is writing fiction and not memoir, because I’m guessing that at least some of what he’s writing about is indeed autobiographical.
What gets freed up when writers (and film makers) say “It’s fiction!”?
Is that liberating or dangerous? Both? How?
I’m wondering about the fact that all of the texts that all three of us think about when we think about “real” are connected to the Middle East (I’m stretching the geography slightly).
By “we” I mean 3 US writers who are white and not Muslim. 2 women and 1 man.
I haven’t seen either ARGO or ZERO, but I’m curious about the reality/realism problem in depicting the way “things are.”
What do you think? What would ZERO DARK THIRTY be like if it had been a manga? What about ARGO? What about if these films had been “documentaries?” Would that have made a difference?
Continuing to ponder this problem . . .
To read Matt Cornell’s essay on ZERO DARK THIRTY click here.