Recreations of history are in vogue both in Hollywood and Bollywood, but exactly how much are filmmakers influenced by the real-life versions? If a video essay by aspiring filmmaker Vugar Efendi is anything to go by, quite a lot.
Efendi’s previous videos have included subjects such as nature through the work of director Terrence Malick, and the visual poetry in Alejandro G Inarritu’s Birdman (2014) and The Revenant (2016). Here, too, Efendi lets the films do the talking, choosing to juxtapose scenes from biopics such as Steven Spielberg’s 2002 crime drama Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and a 1977 television appearance by con artist Frank Abagnale, on whom the movie is based. A scene from Pablo Larrain’s Oscar-nominated Jackie is a near shot-for-shot recreation of the 1962 television documentary A Tour of the White House with Mrs John F Kennedy.
In another sequence, Jim Carrey’s Andy Kaufman from Man on the Moon (1992) is placed next to the comedian’s stand-up set, but this contrast proves detrimental to the actor. Carrey plays his character with exaggerated movements, while Kaufman’s subtle gestures indicate the genius of his comedy.
The video showcases the research undertaken by filmmakers to recreate period detail as well as highlights the shortcomings of recent recreations, including the lack of experimentation with form and an over-reliance on real-life events.