Behind the Blog

Behind The Blog #16; It’s All in The History


Behind the Blog is a meme to help bloggers connect their life and interests to the content showcased on their blog. The co-hosts, Faye, Kathe, and Melissa will provide a different topic, idea, or question every week that bloggers can relate to themselves and the books, films, or other media they find interesting!

If there is one constant throughout the world, it is that time never stops. It continues to trickle past us and what many people don’t realise is how important that fact is. People study history in school and a lot of people don’t really listen, bored of everyone stating that “history repeats itself.” So this week we’re looking at historical events and how they’ve shaped us today. It could be events in your life, in your lifetime or ones that happened years ago that have affected you in this life. What is your favourite historical event?
In relation to media; what historical fiction books and films have you loved? Were the historical details accurate? Was it the history or the fiction that pulled you in?

In all honesty I was never that interested in learning about history when I was growing up. It was a subject that I did, quite simply, find boring. Even in secondary school when they tried to make it more exciting to learn, I just found myself shutting off in the lessons and not bothering to extend myself. In many ways I rather regret this decision now because nowadays I am truly fascinated by history and historical events.

One of my favourite modules during my time at university was actually film history. I loved learning how it all started, the stages it went through before it finally got to how we watch films today. I love that you can watch a film that was only made ten years ago and it already looks dated and old, just because of how fast we’ve updated technology through the use of CGI and special effects. It is just amazing and inspiring to see how much history has affected not just the making of films but also the film industry as a whole. Unfortunately, the only thing about film history I found hard to stomach was the actual films that were produced. Some were okay, the others made me fall asleep.

The era of films that I find the most intriguing are the British films made during World War 2. Before university I wasn’t that interested in the war. I knew the major facts about it, I understood when it was and what had happened during it but it wasn’t until I studied the films and the period during which the films were made that I really got interested in the actual event. I liked knowing how most films were made in Blackpool while London was in blackout, I liked acknowledging that a lot of films were made about women workers to try and get more women to work in factories, but really I just liked learning about the effects of the war.

But that has really only been the beginning. For my dissertation I studied Chinese Fifth Generation Cinema and for the research I looked into the history of Chinese Cinema and I found myself fascinated not with just how the industry changed but with why the industry changed. I wanted to learn more about the wars they went through, more about the communist battle, more about what it was like to live in China. Through films and researching films, I wanted to know more about the country as a whole, in a way that just watching and analysing their films could never truly show me.

So really, I do kick myself for not wishing to learn history more when I was younger because now I find it interesting, fascinating and worthy pieces of information to have. I don’t want to know about history because I have to know about history, I want to know about history because I want to know it and that is the biggest difference between now and then. So for me, the biggest part of my past, the one that inspired the most change, was going to university and studying film and television because in a way, it inspired me to want to know more about the past.

This space here should be full of all the books I’ve read about historical events. It should be a list containing my favourite historical fiction books but instead it is me, unfortunately, admitting that I haven’t read many – if any at all – and therefore, have nothing to attribute to this section. However, I am going to ask all of you – what historical fiction books you would recommend I read as it is a genre I would really like to start reading more of!

Naturally, the amount of films I have watched with a historical event attached to them in some way, shape or form, is extremely high. It would take me a long time to list them all, so instead I’m going to list my favourite Five with a few sentences about why I chose them specifically.

  • Millions Like Us; A British Propaganda film made during WW2 that I just truly found intriguing and fascinating. It’s about women working in factories and really shows the difference women were making.
  • Gladiator; A historical fiction film about one guy who fights as a gladiator in Athens because he’s been captured. A truly magnificent film that I will always love.
  • Titanic; It would have been impossible to complete this list without mentioning this marvellous film that captured this event so brilliantly.
  • To Live; A truly fascinating Chinese film directed by Zhang Yimou that follows a man and his life throughout some of the history of China. An amazing film that is actually banned in China.
  • Robin Hood: The Prince of Thieves; Another historical fiction film surrounding the myths of Robin Hood and Sherwood forest. A truly marvellous film that Kevin Costner made utterly terrific.

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  • alexandrasscribblings

    In terms of recommendations, is there a particular period of time that you’re especially, especially interested it? Because those five films you mention span quite a lot of time!
    I really love your comment that you became interested in the WHY as well as the HOW of the changing industry. Honestly, I think that’s pretty much the most important of the W questions, and the one that’s often the most interesting and challenging.

  • Melissa

    Now there’s even more that we have in common…. I never liked history much in school either. But, I did take a history of film class my last semester at University and really enjoyed it. I also haven’t read too much historical fiction.

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