Friday, November 13, 2009

Squanto: A Warrior's Tale (1994)

Squanto: A Warrior's Tale (1994)

And "tale" is the right word
. I saw this yesterday while using the treadmill--and while I have learned not to expect much historical accuracy from films, I was still disappointed at how "creative" this one was. Squanto was indeed kidnapped on the New England coast by Englishmen. But he was sold into slavery in Spain, not in England. The battle with the bear for a paying audience? Completely invented. He did not escape his tormentors, and fall by accident into an English monastery. after an heroic escape by boat. Squanto was rescued from slavery in Spain by monks, who arranged for his travel to England, where he was treated quite well, and eventually returned home to New England.

What's sad about this is the movie falls into the absurd trap that turns every historical event involving race into some sort of heroic struggle by the oppressed to overcome his oppressors. Squanto's sale in slavery was definitely oppression--but his rescue from it was an act of decency by Christian monks who saw the evil of slavery. His decent treatment in England is doubtless part of why Squanto was so helpful to the Pilgrims when they arrived on the Massachusetts shore--a certainly more plausible response to good treatment than what this movie portrays.

It just drives me crazy to see so many films falsify history--and not even because the real history is boring, or complicated. It is almost like someone, somewhere, is terrified that an accurate portrayal of history wouldn't fit into the mindless ideological framework that seems to drive those idiots in Hollywood.

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