The Agony and the Ecstasy and The Mutiny on the Bounty
This essay will analyse and compare two films, The Agony and the Ecstasy and The Mutiny on the Bounty, on the ways in which the historical interpretation and accuracy of both films relate to the views of recent historians and historical evidence. In order to do this several factors of the films must be examined in order to determine the way the filmmaker interpreted or distorted historical evidence and the reason for doing so. Target audiences, evidence available, historical opinions and artistic licence will all need to be taken into account.
The Agony and the Ecstasy concerns the Italian Renaissance artist of Michelangelo Buonarroti. The film focuses on a short period of his life, 1508-12, concentrating on the painting of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. The reason for such a short scope of the artists life, rather than a full account of his eighty-nine years, could be the writers desire to focus on probably the artist鈥檚 most famous work in order to better relate Michelangelo鈥檚 character to the audience.
The film gives some insight into the character of Michelangelo. The scene in which Michelangelo protest to the pope that he is a sculptor not a
Log records from the HMS Bounty and other vessels in the British navy show that Bligh used corporal punishment to discipline his crew less often than his contemporaries did. Another aspect of the lives of Renaissance artists explored in this film is the rivalry between them. This over exaggeration made by the filmmakers could be explained as a means to make the story of the Bounty more appealing to the audience. It also shows the failings of Bligh as well as his crew. The film Shows Michelangelo building scaffolds and employing assistants to aid him in his task. There were no truly independent artists during the renaissance, artists were either commissioned by their patrons or operated from a shop. There is evidence in some of Michelangelo"tms letters, where he talks of other artist"tms jealousies, which show his paranoia of scheming rivals. This accurately shows the artistic world of the renaissance being one where artists competed with each other to get the best commissions so as to out do each other. Unlike the first two versions of the film this one does not give a one sided story of the mutiny, showing Bligh as the sadistic madman and villain of the story, but instead shows a more balanced and realistic image. His suspicion of his rivals shown in the film is also based on fact. The scene in which Bligh lands at an unnamed island populated by hostile native highlights the dangerousness of the Pacific, and Christian"tms choice of his new home shows its remoteness. Both films uses historical evidence to base their interpretations and inevitably both exaggerate and leave out certain aspects of the events in order to make a more entertaining story for the audience. However this idea also has its basis in the Renaissance belief that creativity was some sort of divine inspiration. Bligh"tms desire to pass Cape Horn and obsession of making a name for himself, as well as the crews lapse of discipline gained from their extended stay on Tahiti combined with the confined and uncomfortable living conditions of the sailors are all shown as explanations for the mutiny. He looks to the sky and sees the clouds form in the image of God, inspiring one of his paintings in the Sistine Chapel.