Steven Spielbergs Amistad

Essay by gib_letsUniversity, Bachelor'sA, May 2002

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The article I read was a critical analysis of Steven Spielberg's Amistad. There were some

valid points made in the article with regards to the movie. Steve Lipkin writes: 'The film's docudramatic disclosure of history vindicates American justice as an ideological system.' I felt that this was a very important point. The film being a docudramatic representation of the times of United States slavery says something about what the movie is a symbol of. Though the accounts in the movie are about a time when Africans/African Americans were oppressed, the mere fact that the film was made is symbolic of what America has become now. The film represents...'the necessity of articulation through storytelling as a means of storytelling empowered victims of racial injustice in the past,' writes Lipkin.

The article makes a parallel connection between Amistad and Schindler's List, which was the movie that Steven Spielberg made just prior to Amistad.

The speech that the Amistad character Adam makes in the Supreme Court and the speech that Oskar Schindler gives are similar in that they both represent climactic points in each film. Also, both scenes represent "self-definition,' an important part of both the slavery epidemic and the holocaust?important to those who were oppressed.

One other very interesting topic that the article touched on was the difference between documentaries and fictional films. To intelligently interpret what one sees and understands to be true, I believe that one must know the difference between these two. According to the article, a


documentary 'tells us directly about "the" world in which we live.' While on the other hand movies which are fictional offer us a "metaphoric relationship to history and lived experience."

I interpret this to mean that documentaries are factual accounts of what has happened or is happening, while the...