on the topic of narrative, gaze, and accents: a thread!
let’s start with the self-evident. in any type of media that deals in fictional storytelling (including fictionalized narratives ‘based on true events’), SOME type of artistic convention is employed.
another definition might be “a way of telling the story that is consistent with itself”. von trier’s shaky camerawork, for example, while it makes me a weird combo of pukey & ragey, is one simple & clear cinematic convention
storytellers superimpose their fictional worlds onto the real one, is my point, hoping that the structures they build to hold them in place are both interesting enough to engage you, and sturdy enough to hold
when these structures fail, they might fail in obvious, suspension-of-disbelief-destoying ways (i hear they have starbucks in westeros) or more subtle, chafing-of-your-logic-cortex ways that you can’t quite put a finger on
but in addition to having different tolerance levels for convention dissonance, didya know people have wildly differing opinions on what makes a good convention in the first place? here’s one example!
#chernobyl is an HBO show set in various locations in former ussr. british production, with a british cast, all playing soviet characters – and not one of them speaking with an east european accent. how dare they! historical inaccuracy!
first of all, unless you’re doing a chernobyl story IN russian with a native cast, full historical accuracy is not a thing. what you’re after is artistic convention – a narrative truth that is consistent with *itself*, historical or no
(secondly, as an actual east european, let’s not with the awkwardness of anglos trying to act & keep a non-anglo accent consistent at the same time. but um, back to storytelling)
in chernobyl, the soviet characters are the story’s protagonists. so the convention is that we are inside of *their* reality - and no one’s a foreigner in their own reality. therefore, for the purpose of this show, native english IS native russian.
accented english, narratively, doesn’t map to native-anything – it only maps to “foreign-sounding to anglos”. it suggests an anglo-centric gaze. the choice to NOT have the actors do accents is far & away more authentic & empathic to the characters
...where was i going with this? ah, yes - your gaze informs your use of convention, moderates how a story is received & by who, & with this knowledge we can surely change the world. chernobyl’s a good show, you should watch it. the end.
addendum: s/o to all the intrepid trailblazers who've taken the time to
1) explain my own point back to me, and/or
2) tell me why it can't possibly be 'objective truth' (gasp!)

you're the kind of story we need right now
good to get some diverse perspectives on gaze & storytelling, though! so many people's experience differs based on their own representation within the matrix of popular culture, and

...oh it's all white dudes? oh hmm i see
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