Monday, September 1, 2008

Putting Exclamation Points on Period Flicks

There are movies that I can never say no to: costume dramas. I love period flicks. I love watching the scenes being acted out, the costumes, the art direction, and the language. I love history, and if I really love a period flick, then I start doing a lot of research on the time period in which the film is set. If a period film is REALLY good, I end up making my own novel set in that same time period.

It's understandable why some moviegoers tend to shy away from period flicks. For one, they often feel that the storylines are dated, and that there is little to relate to in a period movie. Because many period films are scripted according to the language of the times in which they are set, some people may find the language difficult to grasp or stilted (Really now, who in Ancient Rome ever said, “Are you ok?”). And because period films are historical, people might think that the much dreaded History Lecture has hopped right out of school and is haunting them even in their most brainless entertainment.

Try your luck at period films by writing a period film review. This can be especially tricky if you are used to watching films set in modern times that involve little to no writing, and are filled with car chases and guns a-blazin'. If this is the case, you may want to ease yourself into the genre by going for Westerns or war movies. This can also be tricky if you like modern love stories that are slap-happy and whimsical. You may want to get period films that have a love story as the main focus of the film, such as Pride and Prejudice.

Reviewing a period film can be exciting and quite draining at the same time. For one, you are delving into history, and if you love stories of the past, historical or period films may be a lot of fun to write reviews on. However, you will need to scrutinize costumes, music, dialogue, and perhaps even the historical accuracy of the film! The trick is to pick one or two aspects to look at in detail, and then write passing reviews on the rest.

There is still debate on what constitutes a period film. After all, if you're writing in 2008, the 1960's are certainly SO last century. Use your best judgment on which film to get: you may want to do a series of film reviews by taking yourself back in time, say Quiz Show; to Saving Private Ryan; to Emma; to Jude; to Artemisia; to Braveheart; to Gladiator; to 10,000 BC. These are just examples of period or historical pictures that you could look at. There are thousands of films out there that are up for reviewing grabs.

So what are you waiting for? Look for a period flick, sit back, enjoy, and review! Don't think of it as a history lesson: think of it as your way of enjoying the past through the magic of the present. Happy watching, and happy writing!

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