If you haven't seen it, and have the strength to endure it, I can recommend this deeply moving experience.
Historical accuracy, as I indicated above, is something which I think is of paramount importance when doing historical based dramas. Inevitably there will be times when telling the story effectively to an audience requires a degree of ‘artistic license’, and times of course, especially with ancient history, when the actual events may be unclear, or disputed. However, what we must never, ever do in my opinion, is re-write, or ‘water down’ aspects of history to suit politically correct sensitivities in our modern age. I remember becoming embroiled in a furious online discussion once about a dog’s name! The discussion arose when it was revealed that they were doing a remake of, (wait for this), The Dam Busters. Well first of all, why? As if they could ever better Richard Todd and Michael Redgrave et al. But the question arose because, (in actual real-life historical fact), Wing Commander Guy Gibson who was destined to lead the famous raid, owned a Black Labrador Retriever who was the squadron’s mascot, and whose name would later be used as the code signal to indicate that the operation had been successful. The dog’s name was ‘Nigger’.
Now of course, few people nowadays would name a pet using what is generally regarded as a pejorative term. But this wasn't nowadays. This was May, 1943. And the point I have emphasized previously and will again now, is that history is not racist, history is not phobic, history does not make judgments. History just is. If the dog’s name was ‘Nigger’ in 1943, then it's ‘Nigger’ in a film about 1943. So you can imagine my dismay when I heard talk of changing the name. Nineteen Lancasters of 617 Squadron RAF took part in ‘Operation Chastise’ on the night of May 16-17, 1943. Eight were lost, 53 aircrew were killed and 3 taken prisoner. On the ground some 1,600 people died, of which some 1000 were (mainly Soviet) forced labour. Two of the three targets were breached, a third damaged, and the industrial area of the Ruhr was catastrophically flooded. The survivors returned home still unaware that Nigger had been killed in a road accident the night previous. Gibson had kept it secret for the sake of morale. Now you can call me an idealist, but I think if you are going to tell the story of people like this, then tell it properly, and truthfully. We cannot allow modern day sensitivities to force us to re-write the past to accommodate sectional interests in the present. Otherwise where will we end up?...
“You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you. But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party”
From the Novel: Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).
Author: George Orwell.