". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I Had High Hopes For Spartacus

From favorite Brit snarker, A.A. Gill:

I had high hopes for Spartacus. I like history made by Americans; they don’t really believe it, they’re not reverential, they don’t handle it like an exhibit in a museum and they don’t let the veracity get in the way of the emotion. This Spartacus bestrides the twin columns of classical civilisation, sex and violence. It jumps from slaughter to orgy, from stabbing to stabbing, with the elan of a priapic psychopath — and what more could you ask from a bit of escapist telly?


K. said...

Is this a remake? How can you expect to top Stanley Kubrick, Kirk Douglas, and Laurence Olivier? Or Jean Simmons' bare back? Or Tony Curtis explaining that "I tawt da classix to da chil'drun a' my mastah"?

Foxessa said...

This is Spartacus: Blood and Sand, a series from the Bravo network, season 1 of which just began broadcast in the UK (as has Treme).

Shot almost entirely against blue screen and done via cgi -- it's like the movie, 300, (which I confess to not watching either). Much, much, MUCH showing bare flesh, full frontals even of the guys -- the gladiators all have like triple sixpacked ab -- and the penises -- penii? -- of the hermaphrodites and of course naked breasts every where all the time. Much simulation of sex everywhere all the time. And even more brutality and fake blood gouting everywhere from many shorn body parts. It's extreme violence, set to -- yes! -- heavy metal sound track, and the crowds crowding at the fighting events also act like they're at a rock concert or a soccer game, with the women, why yes, they do BARE THEIR BREASTS when their favorite comes out to waves of heavy metal, or kills someone in a specially bloody manner.

Love, C.

Foxessa said...

I like Colleen McCoulough's take on the Spartacus rebellion in Fortune's Favorites.

It's not like any of these.

Love, C.

K. said...

Sounds like a World Wrestling Federation death match.

Except for the heavy metal, I don't mind that stuff when it's done in the service of a compelling narrative and legitimate character development. Rome had some of that -- not this excess -- but that context was by-and-large established. I'm not saying that Rome was anything you'd want to teach in a Roman history class, but it had a fun mix of historical and fictional characters, plus some actual wit.

Foxessa said...

Absolutely, though I've never watch a WWW thing either.

I loved Rome though. The history and historically named characters didn't have any reltionship, but the historical detail of everything from the clothes to the streets and the grafitti, all of it was as exact as they could make it. I was really sorry there weren't more seasons of that one. No blue screens and cgi for them. Which, of course made it VERY expensive, whereas Blood and Sand is very cheap. It sure shows too. They don't even have to spend any money on most of the male characters who are naked mostly except for ball & penii pouches.

Love, c.