In a perfect globe, the movie "Selma" would solely be considered as a depiction of the darker days regarding the lesson of the American history which concludes with reassurances that the movie's horror might not be perpetrated, celebrated nor tolerated. Moreover, with the delusion of perfection on an earthly mortal plane, "Selma" depicts an evolution of change while showcasing the spotlight on a stunted growth of the unchanged. The timeliness of the film is a reminder that is spine-chilling on the people who are unaware of their history, and these people are doomed to repeat it. The story of Selma provides a blueprint of the past as well as the way forward of the future. Therefore, the paper is premised on a discussion regarding a persuasive analysis of the movie "Selma" written by Paul Webb.
As depicted in the film, in 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo), and his wife Coretta (Carmen Ejogo) are getting ready for a trip to Stockholm where Dr. Luther will receive the Nobel Peace Prize. In the previous year, Dr. Luther had aroused the nation's conscience with his speech (I Have a Dream) at a rally in Washington at the Lincoln Memorial base. However, the south was in the grip of a racial misunderstanding and hatred as showcased by the church bombing in Birmingham which killed four black females (Webb, n.p). Nevertheless, like Oprah Winfrey (Annie Lee Cooper) who was the hospice nurse, black citizens have continuously been turned away and intimidated in their attempts in registering to vote. The action makes Martin Luther plan to rally the blacks in Selma and the people in Alabama to engage in massive demonstrations, such as marching from Selma to the Montgomery's Capital. The primary goal of King is to convince President Johnson Lyndon (Tom Wilkinson) to be behind the legislation of voting rights which will be enforced by the Law's full power (Killian, 97).
The substantive Selma's screenplay as depicted by Paul Webb conveys vividly the numerous complicated struggles that King faces because he as well as other Southern Christian Leadership Conference members contend with the members of the youth of the Nonviolent Student Coordinating Committee over the correct strategy to win the allegiance of many Americans to their cause. Also, in a moving vignette, Coretta King pays attention to (Nigel Thatch) Malcolm X as he accepts his variances with her husband over nonviolence practice, but she promises to support the demonstrations of Selma. Meanwhile, the pressure of threats and hate calls of getting killed bother King as well as his wife who become more anxious in the repeated closeness of death (Killian, 96). Thus, in this compelling drama, the most powerful point is the violent attack depiction on the marchers by the police on the bridge of Edmond Pettus. In the scenario, Henry G. Sanders changes in an emotional performance as the 82-year-old father of the young men who was killed in the previous demonstration. Viewers and readers are also impressed by the passion of leadership team members such as Rev. Hosea Williams (Wendell Pierce) and John Lewis (Stefan James) (Webb, n.p).
The best thing about the film is that it is compelling in its depiction and narration of how actions of nonviolence can impact social change. It is a perfect and inspiring moment when the community of Selma is joined by rabbis, ministers, priests, and nuns on the march from Selma to Montgomery, united in their pursuit of justice, equality, and freedom. In this section of the film, viewers see the significant roles of a scripture passage, prayer, community solidarity, and hymns (Meadows, n.p). In the depicted periods, when leaders of the government seem to be prompt in using violence against their enemies who are perceived, and citizens too often relying on guns for grievances to be settled, the audience should reflect at the movement of the civil rights with great admiration and utmost respect (Meadows, n.p). In other words, the leaders who were in Selma should be the type of leaders' people need in the current world.
Selma's script is also suffering from the emotions of naming instead of conjuring them from the invoking ideas rather than dramatizing them. Most viewers ask themselves how the boldest domestic scene of the movie should be or the reason why King and Coretta are listening to the audiotape where King is making love to another woman. However, all that Coretta needs to know is whether King loves her and he is honest and whether King also is interested in any of the others. Moreover, despite the haunting of Ejogo, Oyelowo's array of facial contortions, and the tremulous elegance as Coretta, the film leaves the audience with the original general imaginable notion of the marital guilt of King (DuVernay et al. n.p).
The video acknowledges the infidelity of King without suggesting how it affected his marriage or fitted into his temper. Also, Selma barely admits the real anguish that Johnson was suffering over the American policy while in Southeast Asia which was a serious omission since the first combat of the United States separation arrived in Vietnam on the same day as the first march was aborted from Selma to Montgomery (Killian, 97). As depicted in the film, the president gave King what he wanted as he did not want to be showcased or seen as a small-minded cracker like George Wallace Roth's. Moreover, a more generous depiction of events would have suggested that Johnson accepted the pressure that King was impacting on him to conduct what he knew was correct all along. The film only gives King the moral high ground (Webb, n.p).
Selma is more evasive, the most under-chronicled and intriguing episode in the campaign of voting rights in Selma. The decision of King to curtail the second attempt at the march to Montgomery. At the Edmund Pettus Bridge, King retreated from state troopers, the site of the Bloody Sunday of the town two days earlier after their battle line was broken up by lawmen, who cleared the route for the marchers. King knelt to pray before turning back (Meadows, n.p). According to Taylor Branch (a civil rights historian and King's biographer), King was reluctant to flout the federal order of the court which prohibited the Selma to Montgomery march. King was stunned at the divide with an instant of deciding whether it was either a miraculous parting of the Red Sea or a trap. In case he stepped ahead, the heroic redemption thrill for the Bloody Sunday would have paved way to any number of reversals which included exhaustion of laughing stocks, attacks, and arrests in a hostile nation; which was compromised as flagrant transgressors of the legal order (Webb, n.p). Nonetheless, in case King stepped back, he would divide or lose the movement under a timidity cloud, and if he failed or hesitated, some of the marchers would have surged through blue uniform's corridor towards their aim (Killian, 98).
As depicted by another biographer, David J. Garrow, King had struck a deal with one of the emissaries of LBJ to stop until the federal court cleared the march. Thus, the film shies away by contrast, from the practical explanations leaving the oddest move of King in a haze as he turns around and walks back slowly, amid his angry flock that is puzzled (DuVernay et al. n.p). Additionally, the supporting actors and actresses bring oomph to their small functions and are ringers who are dead for their historical counterparts such as Ander Holland, Wendell Pierce, Ruben Santiago Hudson, and Stephan James. Moreover, it is difficult to resist the depiction of the cast regarding idealism in action or to feel and distance from the pain of the character as their flesh is scarred by truncheons (Meadows, n.p). The characters act with performance vitality that is caught up in what Branch showcases as the unique collaboration of Selma between the elected government and the movement of the citizens. The triumph was mainly to win the voting rights of the blacks while setting an example of disciplined, focused protest. Its tragedy might be that the exciting episode might be termed as unique (DuVernay et al. n.p).
Reflection on the Selected Parameters
I settled on the book "Selma" that is written by Paul Webb as he is the primary writer of the film's main script. Webb was the generator of the main idea, knew the flow of the film, and therefore, he was well conversant with all the sections of the film. In his narration from the book, he clearly explains all the episodes of Selma to make the reader understand the real picture and meaning of racism or blacks being denied the right to vote. Webb used Dr. Martin Luther King as the main actor for his audience to end racism among the whites and the federal court. Also, I opted for DuVernay et al. as the authors have tried explaining and analyzing the main film according to their understanding. They argue correctly in their analysis and draw the same conclusions in the end regarding the film.
Additionally, they showcase different ideas from the film, compare them with the current world and government, to make readers understand better the film in case they failed to understand Webb. I settled on the two scholarly articles by Meadows and Killian as they examine the film and history of the blacks in the United States in the previous years, and relate them with the current world on how blacks are being treated. The two peer-reviewed articles depict the background of various actors and actresses and the roles they played in the film to end racism. In case Webb was a racist, he would have used a white man as the main actor, and the made the blacks the slaves or minor participants in the film. The used website in watching the movie was tvguide.com as it shows all the trailers of the film as well as the full episodes then, in the end, tries to explain some challenging parts that viewers have through their comments in the website. The challenges I faced with these set of Parameter is that the way Martin Luther King Jr. appears in the film is the same way people are used to seeing his historical figures. Webb would have given him a different role or changed the views of the citizens of him in the film. Also, the denials of voting rights by the blacks showcases the disadvantage of the political game and the government in the normal world.
DuVernay, Ava, et al. Selma. Studiocanal, 2015.
Killian, Kyle D. "Selma." Journal of Feminist Family Therapy 27.2 (2015): 96-98. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/08952833.2015.1032169
Meadows, Bethany. History Versus Film: An Examination of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Rhetoric and Ava DuVernay's Selma. Diss. Ashland University, 2017. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/!etd.send_file?accession=auhonors1493777011073985&disposition=attachment
Movie retrieved from https://www.tvguide.com/movies/selma/video/742684/selma-trailer-1-22932058/
Webb, Paul. Selma. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, 2015.
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