Tuesday, June 9, 2020

History Remixed

Catherine was 14 when she arrived in Russia. The Great is as fake as Reign, or worse. I recommend the Russian Ekaterina series on Amazon Prime. From The Guardian:
It is a point in favor of TV’s sprawling proliferation that one gets, in the course of a year, both a lush, serious historical drama starring Helen Mirren as Catherine the Great on HBO, and its tonal opposite, Hulu’s raucous, gleefully brutal The Great, which puts an asterisk right on the title card: “An Occasionally True Story.” The Great, developed by Tony McNamara, the writer of absurd court send-up The Favourite, cares little for the historical accuracy of the 18th-century Russian monarch. Its Catherine (Elle Fanning) arrives in the backward, hedonistic Russian court as a naive 19-year-old bride in 1761. The real Catherine was 35 and a mother by then, but that’s fine – free from the constraints of biography or pedantic seriousness, The Great’s occasional truth delivers, ironically, a more lasting impression of a real, flesh and blood princess – one slowly but determinedly amassing power, enlightened but ambitious to rule. 
It’s a counterintuitive and refreshing insight the show shares not only with its clear predecessors – The Favourite and Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film Marie Antoinette – but with other recent historical-ish content such as Apple TV’s Dickinson, or the new film Shirley. In these absurd, anachronistic or downright fictional depictions of oft-biographied historical figures – women frequently defined against the restrictions of their period – it turns out that the farther one strays from the record, the more clear and accessible the window into their character. 
Take, for example, one of the most effective highlights of The Great: 19-year-old Catherine, cinched in a corset and petticoat, silk shoes squelching in mud, arrives on a battlefield intending to cheer the soldiers with a flushed smile and a box of pastel macaroons. But the bloodied man she meets has lost his fingers and can’t grasp the cookie. “I’ll just pop it in your mouth,” Catherine attempts, baffled and floundering. “It’s pistachio, if that’s helpful. (Read more.)

1 comment:

julygirl said...

Why film directors and writers believe they have the right to change and rewrite history for the sake of their movie is just wrong!