Le Retour De Martine Guerre Analysis

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In school, children are taught that history is made up of concrete facts, trusting the textbooks to give them accurate interpretations of what happened in the past. Essentially, these “facts” of history are the culmination of interpretations regarding sources, and the educated assumptions by historians. This contradicts the traditional view of history, which considers history to be a record of dates, and biographies, and fundamentally, an endless chain of cause and effect. Traditional views of historical sources rate and value certain sources over others, however, what elements decide which sources are in and which are out? Historical writing is a separate genre from literary art, and when historians understand the purpose for each genre, they…show more content…
Throughout the research process, this historian comes across Le Retour de Martine Guerre (1982), a film directed by Daniel Vigne. This film is based off the research completed by Natalie Zemon Davis, who writes, “When I first read the judge’s account I thought ‘This must become a film.’ Rarely does a historian find so perfect a narrative structure in the events of the past or one with such dramatic appeal.” The film’s creators used Davis’s research, even going so far as to hire Davis as a consultant in order to maintain historical accuracy in the film. Assuredly the interpretation of the historical trial, the development of the characters, and the visual representation of Davis’s research within the film have value, however, the value, in this case, is not strictly as a visual representation of Davis’s research, but primarily as a form of…show more content…
In other words, the film created a version of history to serve their purpose a piece of entertainment, putting the needs of the genre over historical accuracy, even if it be ever so slightly. The film’s interpretation of historical sources fulfilled its primary purpose as a compelling piece of entertainment, and not, in this case, in being a historical source. The film’s theme, of course, was historical, however, here is where Davis seemed to become troubled. The film’s purpose was not to inform but to entertain. Both the historical event, and the historical sources were used by the film as a mode of exposing audiences to an entertaining story, and not to inform them of the “motivations of 16th century peasants”. This is where the historical significance of literary art, from novels to films can be seen as troublesome for historians. The purpose of a play, a screenplay, or a novel is to entertain first in most cases, and in certain cases, inform. This point then concludes that while literary art can be informative up to the point of being a historical source, at the same time it will sacrifice the ability to be a historical source for the purpose of being first, and foremost, entertaining. Therefore, as for research purposes, literary art should be analyzed with the

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