The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Grammar Bitch strikes again

As part of my ongoing quest for activities and interests that have nothing to do with small children, I'm participating in a film symposium with a group of friends this fall. Sixteen of us are splitting four passes, enabling us each to attend four screenings over the next three months. It's a nice opportunity to get out of the house, share some interesting discussions, and see first run films -- often indies or art house flicks -- that we might never have otherwise seen. The schedule isn't printed in advance, and you never know what you're going to get or which guests might show up to discuss the film until you arrive, which adds to the appeal as far as I'm concerned.

Last night was my first night to attend, and both the film and the discussion with the director that followed were well worth my while. I would never in a million years have sought out a documentary about American soldiers in Iraq, but I found myself riveted. The film felt important and I was glad to have the opportunity to experience it. But one split second on the screen nearly ruined the entire thing for me. In the final third of the movie, a title screen detailed what was happening with the "platton." No, not the platoon, though I assume that's what they meant. The screen said "platton." And right there, all of the credibility of the movie, the idea of the documentary as important journalism, went out the window for me. Because truthfully, if you want to say something really important in your film, how do you go and release said film without, you know, PROOFREADING it?

I'm still glad that I saw Occupation: Dreamland and I would encourage others to see it if given the chance. It puts a real face on both the soldiers and the Iraquis and brings home a conflict which often simply feels far away. But when I think of the film, the first image that will always come to mind for me now is that single title screen with its glaring error. I'm fairly confident that's not the image the director meant to leave his audience with. And now instead of wondering about whether our troops are doing the right thing in Iraq and how this conflict can ever reach a conclusion, I'm left with a different set of questions. Does a chyron machine not come with SpellCheck? Am I really the only person who has screened the film to notice the error? What does that say about the value of proper language usage in today's society? In the end, Occupation: Dreamland left me wondering what the world is coming to. But not, I suspect, in the way it was meant to.


At 3:03 PM, Blogger Kristy said...

Ha! I can't, today, see the word "foresight" and not think of R.E.M. and the video they shot, including the written word "forsight" in it. Michael Stipe even laughed about it years later. Likewise, the word judgement, though that has some over-the-Atlantic-arguments for the use of the second letter "e"...

I highly recommend you contact the director. Surely, there's a way to do so. And, surely, you'll get a response.

And, while we're on the subject of movies, let me use this comment space to recommend My Architect (now out on video, of course) Fantastic documentary!


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