For some commentators, ‘fake-history films’ are the new threat to truth, arguing that artistic licence is no excuse for distorting historical facts and yet contemporary movies change history all the time (Mary Queen of Scots meeting Queen Elizabeth on the big screen!). Film-makers, on the other hand, claim they are artists, not journalists or historians and are not in the business of providing documentary-style history lessons. But at what point does artistic licence and creative dramatisation start to confuse and mislead the viewer? Are viewers sophisticated enough to discern where artistic liberties are being taken and to adjust perceptions accordingly? Is film a useful gateway to ‘real’ history? Our panel debates the issues.
Cecile Gordon is project manager of the Military Service (1916–1923) Pensions Collection
Hannah Greig is a senior lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of York and a historical adviser for film, television and theatre
Tom Holland is a historian, biographer and broadcaster
Hugh Linehan is arts and culture editor of the Irish Times
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