Monday, April 30, 2007
Reader Timothy Moran sends this link and comment: ‘Victor Davis Hanson, an expert on ancient Greece, says that 300 is told in the way ancients would have told the story of fighting the Persians.’ From the article, discussing the film’s attempt to follow Frank Miller’s comic book style: “The Greeks themselves often embraced such impressionistic adaptation. Ancient vase painters sometimes did not portray soldiers accurately in their bulky armor. Instead, they used ‘heroic nudity’ to show the contours of the human body. Similarly, Athenian tragedies that depicted stories of war employed contrivances every bit as imaginative as those in 300. Actors wore masks. Men played women’s roles. They chanted in set meters, broken up by choral hymns. The audience understood that dramatists reworked common myths to meet current tastes and offer commentary on the human experience.”
Moran asks, ‘That may be true, but if so, that raises other questions. Should we be telling stories in ancient ways or modern ways? Maybe we should take a modern view and avoid portraying our enemies as monsters? Is 300 a bad movie because it promotes a “tribalist” view of conflict, rather than a more “rational” view?’ Good question. One response I’d suggest is that art that causes us to question our own assumptions is probably more good than not. It seems like this movie has provoked more real discussion than any other film this year.