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Monday, June 27, 2011

Why the Fuss?



Lately, there has been some clamor on the inaccuracy of the storytelling of Amaya. Apparently, some groups are complaining that there is an incorrect depiction of the binukot tradition in the first-of-its-kind Philippine TV series. Personally, I don't get the reason why there is this fuss about Amaya's historical accuracy. Sources for the background of the story of Amaya have been cited by the writer, Suzette Doctolero, numerous times. History professors are consulted with even the most minute of details. Also, the show is a fictional story with a historical background; the reason why it's called historical fiction. The story was developed by putting together clues from our not-too-documented past, since Philippine ancient history was usually in the oral tradition (not that our ancestors were illiterate).

However, even foreign historical series are so full of artistic liberties to make the story appealing and exciting to its viewers. For example, we know of King Henry VIII as the polygamous monarch of England, but much of what is mentioned in the TV series, The Tudors is far from real. For example, King Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn when he was in his 40s, but in the series, the infamous king married her at a younger age. Physically fit Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who was chosen to portray King Henry VIII, is also far from the fat, bearded king.

According to some ancient Korean sources like the Samguk Sagi, the birth of Jumong, founding monarch of the Kingdom of Goguryeo, was legendary. He hatched from an egg which resulted from the union of Hae Mosu and Yuh Wah, the daughter of the river god. However, in the Korean historical drama, Jumong, Lady Yuh Wah, and the warrior Hae Mosu were mere mortals. Jumong’s son and heir in the series, Yuri, is also now thought to be a usurper of the throne because it puzzled historians why Jumong died only five months after his son’s arrival in Goguryeo.

Because of the scarcity of details about the life of the first female doctor to the king, the writer of Jewel in the Palace depicted Jang Geum as a deposed palace chef who struggled to study medicine despite the dominance of men in that field. In the annals of the Joseon Dynasty, there is never any mention of her serving as a palace cook. In another Korean historical series, Deokman rose to power after struggling for what is rightfully hers. While the story is perfect for a colorful TV drama, nothing in the Samguk Sagi is mentioned of her struggles before becoming Queen Seon Deok of Silla.

Academy Award Winning film Ben-Hur talks about the story of two friends, who eventually become rivals because of beliefs in their own governments and religions. While the story is set during the time of Jesus, the events and even some of the characters in the story are purely fictitious. Another Academy Award winning film also draws inspiration from history, yet weaves a beautiful fictional story of love, courage and sacrifice: Titanic. The shipwreck did happen, and some of the characters in the movie were historical figures, yet the leads Rose and Jack were entirely a product of a creative mind.

Amaya intends to tell a beautiful story of the struggles of a woman in a time dominated by men while masterfully revealing the colorful Pre-Hispanic history of our nation. If we stick to that premise, we wouldn’t need to bother ourselves with petty issues taken out of context of the story and production.

2 comments:

Analie Casuncad said...

Naku, pihado naman for the sake of cinematography and ratings ay maraming nabago at babaguhin pa sa mga katotohanang idedepict sa istoryang ito. Anyway, sasabihin lang naman na fictional naman ito eh diba madali lang? - Ana

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