Monday, February 23, 2009

Class One - February 23: Come See The Paradise

Raising Questions of Civil Liberties: Come See the Paradise

Come See the Paradise is a fact-based 1990 film directed by Alan Parker, starring Dennis Quaid and Tamlyn Tomita. Set before and during World War II, the film depicts the treatment of U.S. citizens of Japanese descent following the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the subsequent loss of civil liberties within the framework of a love story.

Here are some good readings about this film:

Roger Ebert's Review

This is probably the best, most thorough analysis of the film I've found to date. It is very critical of the historical accuracy. But it points out that there are virtually no other films that deal with the issue. I made the decision to show the film because I thought it was noteworthy that audiences left theatres thinking they knew the facts about Japanese American internment. So the popular culture film, while exposing many to a period of history about which they'd previously known little, misinformed on some key points.

It won't be the last time you'll see a film that distorts reality. I've argued with my husband about the director's license to do this. He initially contended it was sometimes acceptable for moviemakers to make changes for dramatic purposes, like in Frost/Nixon. But I persuaded him that this movie really is a false, revisionist history.

Read the Payne article and tell me what you think.

1 comment:

dissertation said...

You know the title of the film came from a poem by Russian poet Anna Akhmatova.