Truth and Fiction in Film

I'm on a quest to see all nine nominated films for the Best Picture Oscar, and I'm pretty far behind. I saw Argo on Friday. It was riveting, but I wondered how close it really was to reality. Everything was timed so perfectly. So I did some research and found a couple of articles, one written by Mark Lijek, one of the rescued Americans, who said it didn't happen like the movie. Another said that Canada's role was seriously downplayed. Another that the bazaar scene and chase scene on the tarmac were invented.

It's disappointing to learn that Argo is just another case of revisionist Hollywood history. It happens with real life events and fictional stories alike, as in how much The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit deviated from the books. Even though I understand artistic license, people who watch the films without looking up the actual historical facts (which are often murky to start with as in Zero Dark Thirty) or reading the books will never know the difference, and over time, everyone comes to believe that the movie is how things happened.

I also found this article with comments from Tony Mendez, the CIA agent. I may just have to read his book.

So today I went to see Life of Pi. Almost unbearably beautiful, both visually and emotionally. But it left me with so many questions. So I found a Q&A with the author of the book, Yann Martel, to see if he would answer some of them. Whereas I was questioning the altering of reality in Argo, Martel's whole intent is to make you question what is real and what is imagined, and he intentionally leaves it up to the reader/viewer to decide.