The intro makes me feel a little less comfortable watching the movie afterwards, and maybe that’s the point. Never mind that “GWTW” did not deliberately seek to create an uncomfortable viewing experience; the film exists because of a hell of a lot of discomfort placed on its black actors and black audience, while whites have been spared any discomfort for most of the film’s history.
As of this writing, it has been announced that Jacqueline Stewart will be appearing in the new Reframing Classics series on TCM, which will deal with 18 films made between the 1920s and 1960s that are also proving problematic. “GWTW” will be included, as will “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Swing Time”. Stewart explains to the LA Times that the point isn’t to make people hate the movies they love, “we’re just trying to show how to have longer, deeper conversations,” she says.
These conversations actually help me want to know more about art. So even though I can’t look at it the same way as before, I’m developing a deeper understanding of it, which makes it infinitely more interesting.
It is normal that our relationship with art changes. Some works are deemed too shocking and controversial when released. Sometimes shock and controversy come later. We don’t really engage with art if we insist that its meaning and grandeur are sacrosanct.
Better dead or fired?
A few years ago I posted an article on this site about my decision to quit watching Woody Allen movies because I believe he sexually assaulted Dylan Farrow as a child. A “friend” read the headline and laughed at what he assumed was my point. What about Mozart, Jim Morrison, Picasso, he asked, are we going to basically cancel them because they were assholes too?
And that’s right, they were also assholes. But they’re also dead assholes, unable to cause anyone more pain.