Based on a True Story: Latin American History at the Movies. DONALD F. STEVENS (ed.): Wilmington, Delaware: SR Books, 1997.

Raanan Rein

Abstract


Anyone who has ever had to teach an introductory course in colonial or modern Latin American history has grappled with the question of whether to use historical films, and if so, to what extent. The historian's aversion to films as a way of depicting the past is well known. Nevertheless, today's teachers are increasingly attracted to the use of films as an incentive to study history, recognizing that more and more undergraduates have trouble coping with large quantities of reading and that "more people today get their history in movie theaters, from broadcast and cable television, and on prerecorded videocassette tapes than from reading print" (p. 4). What is more, one need not be a post-modernist to feel uncomfortable with the idea that "fact" and "fiction" are clearly distinguishable categories.

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