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Have you seen "The New World" ?

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  • Have you seen "The New World" ?

    The movie "The New World" just opened today, (Jan 20th).

    Have you seen it?

    What did you think about it?

    "Be good, be kind, help each other."
    "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

    --Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage (1926-1995)

  • #2
    In a related news item...

    Jamestown: Where the U.S. Began
    by Leigh Pressley
    The Charlotte Observer - 20 Jan. 2006
    Read today's latest news headlines from Charlotte and North Carolina. Stay up to date on local business, sports, crime, politics, arts, culture, and more.

    With this weekend's opening of "The New World," Virginia tourism officials hope the epic tale of Capt. John Smith and Pocahontas brings more than increased traffic.

    Virginia sees its 15 minutes in the Hollywood limelight as a three-pronged opportunity. It's a chance to finally get the message to the masses that Jamestown, not the Pilgrims' Plymouth, was America's first permanent English settlement.

    The film also debuts just as Jamestown prepares to start months of commemorative events leading up to April 2007 -- the 400th anniversary of the colony's founding. Beginning this May, a replica of one of the three ships that brought colonists to Jamestown will sail the East Coast, stopping in six major port cities for landing parties and a traveling festival. (Also planned for next year: an anniversary weekend of special events, a voyage up the James River, festivals and conferences.)

    And both Jamestown Settlement -- a museum with living-history demonstrations -- and Historic Jamestowne -- the actual settlement site with an archaeological dig and nearly 1 million artifacts -- are constructing new buildings and expanding programs in anticipation of visitors.

    Historians hope to dispel myths about the settlers' ineptitude, and share new information on problems that plagued the colony.

    "The draw of Jamestown is a mixture of things," says researcher William Kelso, who leads the archaeological dig at Historic Jamestowne. "People like to see the beginning of things, and this is where America began. It was the first place in the country to have a representative government, the first to have private enterprise and the first to introduce Africans into society. It's the beginning of our country's diversity. And that's an amazing thing."

    History -- Hollywood-style
    While "The New World" will bring more tourists to Jamestown, actual history may collide with myth, thanks to poetic license taken by "New World" director Terrence Malick.In the film, Capt. John Smith (Colin Farrell) sails across the Atlantic with 108 men in an expedition sponsored by a group of London entrepreneurs. The settlers plan to create a colony and mine gold to ship back to England.

    Enamored with the unspoiled land at first, the colonists soon find themselves in trouble as conditions worsen, food supplies dwindle, and disease and attacks by the Powhatan Indians begin to decimate the ranks.

    Smith leads an expedition in search of food, and along the way, his group is attacked by the Powhatans. Pocahontas, the beautiful and spirited teenage daughter of the tribe's Chief Powhatan (August Schellenberg), talks her father into sparing Smith's life so she can learn English from him.
    Smith acclimates to life with the Powhatans and he and Pocahontas (Q'Orianka Kilcher) fall in love.

    In truth, historians have found no documentation of a love affair between Smith and Pocahontas, who could have been as young as 12 when the settlers arrived in 1607.

    "John Smith was known as an adventurous, very brave person," says Kelso. "He didn't get along well with his elders and he had a flamboyant style. His journals are like he's writing the script of a movie he's going to star in, where he single-handedly saves the day like John Wayne. Pocahontas was known as a high-spirited person who saw the positive side of dealing with the English. There's no evidence of a love relationship between the two, but it's always possible."

    Training for accuracy
    Other elements of the movie are historically accurate.
    Two locations on the Chickahominy River were chosen to re-create the settlers' fort and the Powhatan village. Set designers used hand-hewn logs and wooden pegs to build the fort, and longhouses lashed together with rope to re-create the Indian village.

    Carpenters, metal workers, weavers, potters, jewelers and stitchers worked for several months to create historically accurate props. Hand-woven cloth, skins, shells and feathers were used for costumes.

    Months before filming began, a three-acre field was planted with Indian corn, squash, melons and tobacco to re-create the early 17th-century gardens that the Powhatans would have cultivated.

    The cast and extras also endured a vigorous boot camp to learn about the two civilizations. Native American actors from across the United States trained in dance, singing, canoeing and other movements. Actors portraying British soldiers concentrated on swordplay and armor.

    A sense of Colonial life
    While the movie sets are long gone, visitors to the two Jamestown sites still get a sense of what life would have been like for the English settlers and the Powhatans. At Historic Jamestowne, you can walk the actual site where settlers built the first fort overlooking the James River in 1607. Quiet and serene, its main attraction is an active archaeological dig where the fort once stood.

    Nearly 1 million artifacts have been unearthed, including ceramics, pieces of copper pots, oyster shells, weapons, coins, trading beads, glassmaking and woodworking equipment, bones of game fish and livestock, tobacco pipes and even human skeletal remains.

    The fort's entire perimeter was located, along with interior structures such as a well.

    "Finding the James Fort from 1607 was an amazing discovery, because nearly every historian thought it had washed away into the river nearly two centuries ago," says Historic Jamestowne curator Beverly Straube. "We've only uncovered about 20 to 30 percent of what's there, so every day the archaeologists come in with something new. It gives us an opportunity to interpret history in a different way."
    "We're really getting a complete picture of the settlers' way of life," adds Paula Neely of Virginia Tourism.

    "Some historians said the Jamestown settlers were lazy, incompetent and unprepared for life here, and that's why the settlement ultimately failed. It turns out they arrived in one of the worst droughts in history, that the sturgeon didn't run upriver that year and that there wasn't a lot of food to be found. They also came intending to trade with the Indians, but the Powhatans didn't have enough food to trade with the settlers. The discoveries of the archaeological dig are changing the historical story."

    Nature trails winding through undeveloped land also give visitors to Historic Jamestowne a place to wander and imagine what life must have been like for the English settlers.
    To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the settlers' arrival, Historic Jamestowne will unveil several new elements.
    An archaearium, an innovative facility for artifacts found in the dig, will open this spring. Guests can stroll through the 7,500-square-foot exhibit space to learn about three themes -- rediscovering the fort through archaeology, the roots of democracy in Jamestown and the human stories about people who lived here.

    A unique glass structure also will allow visitors to see excavated areas under their feet.

    A new 18,000-square-foot Visitor Center with interactive museum exhibits and audio-visual programs in a 180-degree theater setting will follow in October.

    Visitors go back in time
    Jamestown Settlement, just a few minutes away from Historic Jamestowne and accessible via a shuttle, offers a different experience for visitors. A museum and living-history site akin to Old Salem (in Winston-Salem), the settlement gives a good overview of the Jamestown story from the perspective of English settlers, Native Americans and the Africans brought in as slaves.

    The main attractions include an extensive museum with permanent and changing exhibits and a theater, as well as re-creations of a fort, Indian village and three ships that brought the settlers to Virginia.

    Costumed interpreters demonstrate 17th-century technology, agriculture and military skills. Visitors can grind corn, steer a tiller, try on armor, play games, help scrape out a wooden canoe, weave a fishing net, work at a carpenter's bench, cook by an open hearth and watch a musket firing.

    All three re-created ships -- the Godspeed, Discovery and Susan Constant -- are docked in the river and are open for touring.

    Jamestown Settlement also plans to open new facilities for the upcoming anniversary throughout 2006. Included are a 30,000-square-foot comprehensive exhibit on the early Colonial experience, a new introductory film, and more 17th-century artifacts such as portraits, documents, furnishings, tools and weapons.

    "Be good, be kind, help each other."
    "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

    --Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage (1926-1995)


    • #3
      My boyfriend and I were gonna watch it until we found out that Pocahontas wasn't even Native American Indian. We read the story about it in News from Indian Country. Wes Studi even commented it wasn't as native 'authentic' as Geronimo, Dances w/ wolves, etc.
      Two things a girl should always be: Classy & Fabulous


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