photo: Bison Archives 

Many authors, directors, and screenwriters have been criticized (and rightly so) for their works are not historically true and only recount in their own words what really happened during World War II, since most of it was written and filmed . Of course, in order for a work to be accurate and true, it must be based on real facts and events, otherwise it becomes artistic fiction or, as it is less offensive to call it, fiction.


When an author takes the story that comes to his mind as a background on which to tell it, it often "dooms" the work to success, as it creates a sense of truth in the reader, and who does not like to read about the dramatic events of the war… This is perhaps the most exploited theme in art, whether we are talking about the world-shaking wars of the 20th century or the battle of Troy. Indeed, authors and directors can be criticized for using History as a guarantee of success. But there is another perspective from which one can look at works dealing with world history.


With History, perhaps more than any other science, much is speculated because it is based on facts and events on which the political map of the world, borders and relations between countries depends. It shapes the self-esteem of a people, domestic and foreign policy, and requires the knowledge that underpins the world in the future. For many countries (and should be the case in all) History is a priority and the school curriculum focuses on actively studying it. Because "a people with no past, no future."


However, as interesting and important as it is, History is quite difficult to perceive when it involves only dates and names. Especially for children whose imagination is excited by stories, not figures. A person is initially designed to learn faster and longer when events have emotional value for him or her or for a specific subject. Or as Stalin put it: "one person's death is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic." Indeed, everyone will agree that the mass persecution and murder of Jews is a great tragedy for the world as a whole, but this fact has far less emotional impact on us than the death of that little girl with the red coat on Schindler's List . In this regard, History owes a great deal to Literature and Cinema, which through their fiction (because art always relies on fiction, otherwise it would be documentary) create an emotionally saturated background that becomes one because of the interference of the personal, the private, and the precise certain people.

photo: Bison Archives


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Let's take Hiroshima, my love, for example - this extraordinarily powerful text by Marguerite Duras, which was presented through the expressive means of cinema in an even more influential way. This film also touches us - the Bulgarians of the 21 century, though we have nothing to do with Hiroshima and the American atomic bomb. At the same time, we forget the bombing of Sofia 1942 - 1944 year, which destroyed the city. The tragedy in Hiroshima is enormous - they die between 90 000 and 140 000 in just a moment and with only one bomb. For us, so many thousands of miles away, and today so remote in time, this should be just statistics. And it would have been, if it had not been for the film, which illustrates in a particularly emotional way the bombing and the death of humans, showing the running bodies burning, the hair of the survivors, etc.

The world suffers for Hiroshima, is interested in Hiroshima and constantly mentions the great movie product. Why? Because fiction is interwoven with historical fact, it is the element that excites a person who is eventually remembered and who recalls the millions of victims of the atomic bomb. And it is no accident that Nagasaki is only briefly mentioned or directly missed. The reason is not only that, as a second destroyed city, the shock is less. On the contrary, it is the second blow that makes the tragedy even greater and ultimately causes Japan to fall to its knees in front of the horrifying forces of the US atomic bomb. For Nagasaki, however, there is no artistic equivalent; there is no personal history, invented and presented through art. Many people still inspire and write about Hiroshima - Hiroshima Mine. But there is no vivid memory of Nagasaki, like all other cities and events that have not been written about.


Something similar is happening with the world's most commented ship, the Titanic. Although the case is surrounded by thick and persistent fog, though there have been numerous reports that the ship did not sink so that it was not even (there are any theories), the world is excited by the Titanic, mainly because of Leonardo Di Caprio, Kate Winslet, and Hollywood's ability to create a story that doesn't die. Hardly anyone would be so interested in the Titanic if it had not been described repeatedly and turned into an object of art. Ships, much larger than this one have sunk and continue to sink, but humanity thinks of it, not the rest.


There is no way to bow our heads to the great power of art. And we just need it to get excited and remember the historical facts more easily. This is why History is a great debt to the Arts, as it inspires eternal life, moving from documentary to masterpiece, whether literary, cinema or opera. And it may be a shame that so many stories are being forgotten because there is no one to perpetuate them.

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