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Silence Speaks

So, one thing I thought was so very very interesting was the way Griffith, or actually Cabanne, portrays such violence, emotion, discrimination, and prejudice without saying a single word out loud. I went in thinking that I was going to watch this film fall asleep within the first couple of minutes (with that music, I almost did… I actually turned it off half way through the movie–it was just the same two songs over and over!), but I didn’t. I didn’t even want to. I am not in anyway saying that this was a good movie… I hated it. But, in 72 minutes, Cabanne and Griffith got their point across. I think it was the wrong point… but a point never the less.

In today’s movies, we prefer things to be understated and ‘realistic’. However, this movie was about as exaggerated as humanly possible… and I think to me, as a modern citizen, it made the story all the more ridiculous. In that way, it reminded me very much of Imperium in Imperio— both fantastical in their narration of an event (both pretty fantastical).

One of the ways in which this was accomplished (and as an anthropology major, I thought this was an interesting depiction of life during the early 1900’s), was through body language. For example, the wide eyed frenzy looks that the “Mexican” people wore when they were having a sex craving (no other way to put it), or how the white people were always the tallest, and if that couldn’t be achieved, the other races would kneel beside them or sit. One thing I noticed, was how the black (or white-black-faced man) man was literally pushed out of the way, always behind someone or looking up adoringly at their “protectors”.

It makes me question whether or not it was merely ignorance on the part of Griffith and Cabanne or if they were purposefully deceiving us… or if it was a little of both. Did they know the real story and the real motivation, and the true events and just chose to cover them up to make “Liberty-Loving Americans” look more heroic? Or were they genuinely unaware of the historical event… in other words, how long does it take before we, as Americans, start to retell an event?

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. jvittorio
    April 19, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    I think that the question of how long it takes us to retell an event is an interesting one. As we’ve seen in our research sometimes it may take too long. I just read an article about how most cities in the North don’t even commemorate the beginning/end of the Civil War anymore, it’s as if it has simply been erased from their history. The article then highlighted the elaborate lengths that cities in the South go to in order to commemorate these events, and so going off of your original question, what happens when the event is recovered and retold for a period of time, but then forgotten again?

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