timespace coordinates: 25 – 33 ancient Rome / Jerusalem / Ionian SeaBen-Hur is a 2016 American epic historical period drama film directed by Timur Bekmambetov and written by Keith Clarke and John Ridley. It is the fifth film adaptation of the 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace following the 1907 silent short film, the 1925 silent film, the Academy Award-winning 1959 film and the 2003 animated film of the same name. It has been termed a “re-adaptation”, “reimagining”, and “new interpretation” of the novel. (wiki)
The New World is a 2005 British-American romantic historical drama film written and directed by Terrence Malick, depicting the founding of the Jamestown, Virginia, settlement and inspired by the historical figures Captain John Smith, Pocahontas of the Powatan Native American tribe, and Englishman, John Rolfe. The cast includes Colin Farrell, Q’orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer and Christian Bale.
According to History professor Cathy Schultz, Powhatan’s people “were far from the innocent, childlike creatures we see in the film.” Schultz points out that Powhatan “ruled by conquest over the surrounding tribes,” in contrast to the film’s depiction of them as peaceful except where in conflict with the English. Furthermore, most scholars agree that there was no romantic relationship between Pocahontas and Smith. She would have been 10 years old in 1608 when they were said to have first met.
timespace coordinates: 18th century in a remote South American colony
Zama is a 2017 Argentine period drama film starring Daniel Giménez Cacho, Lola Dueñas, and Matheus Nachtergaele & directed by Lucrecia Martel. It is based on the 1956 novel of the same name by Antonio di Benedetto, on Don Diego de Zama, a Spanish officer of the 18th century settled in Asunción, Paraguay, who awaits his transfer to Buenos Aires.
The Botany of Desire is a two-hour program broadcast by PBS based on The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World is a 2001 nonfiction book by journalist Michael Pollan. Pollan presents case studies that mirror four types of human desires that are reflected in the way that we selectively grow, breed, and genetically engineer our plants. The tulip, beauty; marijuana, intoxication; the apple, sweetness; and the potato, control.
The stories range from the true story of Johnny Appleseed to Pollan’s first-hand research with sophisticated marijuana hybrids in Amsterdam to the paradigm-shifting possibilities of genetically engineered potatoes. Pollan also discusses the limitations of monoculture agriculture: specifically, the adoption in Ireland of a single breed of potato (the Lumper) made the Irish vulnerable to a fungus to which it had no resistance, resulting in the Irish Potato Famine. The Peruvians from whom the Irish had gotten the potato grew hundreds of varieties, so their exposure to any given pest was slight.
“I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.”
Of Gods and Men is a 2010 French drama film directed by Xavier Beauvois, starring Lambert Wilson and Michael Lonsdale. Its original French language title is Des hommes et des dieux, which means “Of Men and of Gods” and refers to a verse from the Bible shown at the beginning of the film. It centers on the monastery of Tibhirine, where nine Trappist monks lived in harmony with the largely Muslim population of Algeria, until seven of them were kidnapped and assassinated in 1996 during the Algerian Civil War.Largely a tale of a peaceful situation between local Christians and Muslims before becoming a lethal one due to external forces, the screenplay focuses on the preceding chain of events in decay of government, expansion of terrorism, and the monks’ confrontation with both the terrorists and the government authorities that led up to their deaths. Principal photography took place at an abandoned monastery in Azrou, Morocco. (wiki)
spacetime coordinates: 1650s – 1670s Dutch Empire – British EmpireMichiel de Ruyter (Dutch pronunciation: [miˈxil də ˈrœy̯tər]) is a 2015 epic Dutch film about the 17th-century admiral Michiel de Ruyter directed by Roel Reiné. Paintings from the 17th century served as an inspiration for the design. In the beginning of the movie, when Klaartje the family maid pours milk, it is almost an exact replica of the famous painting ‘The Milkmaid’ by Johannes Vermeer.
Prior to its release, several protest groups had accused the film of glorifying the colonial history of the Netherlands. References to colonialism in the film are however almost absent. The film makes a minor reference to the Dutch East India Company, which contributed highly to the welfare in the 17th century in the low countries, and to the trading vessels which were protected by the navy under Michiel de Ruyter. The film’s main subjects — apart from Michiel de Ruyter himself — are the internal politics of the country, including the brutal murder of Johan de Witt and the complicated relationship with England, up to the engagement of the Dutch prince of Orange with Mary II. (wiki)
spacetime coordinates: 2048 NATO operating base Atlantic OceanThe Titan is a science fiction thriller film directed by Lennart Ruff. It stars Sam Worthington, Taylor Schilling & Tom Wilkinson and deals with ideas surrounding ethics in science. In 2048, on an Earth overpopulated and ridden by violent conflicts, scientists are looking to Saturn’s moon Titan as a new home for humanity, spearheaded by Professor Martin.
Specular Spectacular: Here’s the sun glinting off of Titan’s north polar seas