Friday, October 5, 2012

Lincoln, again

Another Lincoln trailer. Hmm....

-I appreciate attempts to connect the Civil Rights Movement with the Civil War.  But tracing the line between them requires traveling through some pretty dark stuff--reconstruction, the post-reconstruction "nadir" of African American experience, Jim Crow, etc. The image of MLK Jr. at the beginning of this trailer was instead a ham-handed way of saying that Lincoln, like MLK, was a "uniter". Someone who "unites" the people. Then we get stock photos of other "uniters." Some soldiers? Nelson Mandela? First wave feminists? Gandhi? What? If Spielberg wants me to think that Lincoln is going to be complete nonsense, this is perfect way to do it. It's some meaningless post-modern melange of symbols, which need not be American (though, obviously, the soldiers are--no foreign soldiers can "unite" like we can).
-The trailer makes clear that the movie is about the 13th amendment. Excellent. If nothing else, the film's focus (i.e. its focus on something other than the Emancipation Proclamation) should help make clear that the end of slavery was a lot more complicated than often assumed.
-Interesting interplay between Lincoln the Emancipator and Lincoln the Power Hungry. I wonder to what extent the film will indulge the neo-confederate fantasy that Lincoln was a dictator at the head of the War of Northern Aggression (I can tell you the answer. It's not at all). "I am the President of the United States, clothed in immense power!" What a great line.


  1. But you are going to see this, right? I mean, I expect that you'll see it within the first week (or maybe you'll wait until the 2nd to prove me wrong).

    I agree with your unease with the generic civil rights' uniters opening, but I wouldn't judge the film too much on that.

    btw, does this Lincoln sound a little dweebie? Is that historically accurate?

    1. Oh yeah, don't get me wrong. I'm going to see the crap out of this movie. But the last time I went to see a Civil War period drama (The Conspirator) I got burned. I got burned bad.

      Everything I've read about Lincoln has suggested that his voice was a little tinny, a little nasal, and not necessarily that pleasant to listen to. I've read several accounts of speeches where the journalist or whoever will note that Lincoln's voice starts off kind of nasal and grating before settling in to something a little deeper and melodious as the speech went on.

      It's pretty interesting! It's definitely not the sound I had in my head for Lincoln before I learned that.

      Is this movie coming out where you are? Actually, I have no idea how many/what American movies are released in Europe.