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domingo, 30 de outubro de 2016

Wilson (1944)

Segundo o site Huffington Post, Woodrow Wilson foi o terceiro pior presidente da história dos Estados Unidos, enquanto seu antecessor, William Howard Taft, foi o melhor de todos. O site Rant Political, entretanto, coloca Wilson entre os 15 melhores e o chama de visionário. Se Wilson não tivesse governado durante a Primeira Guerra Mundial, proposto 14 pontos de paz e idealizado a Liga das Nações, provavelmente estaria ainda mais esquecido – e certamente eu, uma blogueira brasileira, nunca teria ouvido falar dele.

According to the website Huffington Post, Woodrow Wilson was the third worst president of the United States, while his predecessor, William Howard Taft, was the best of them all. The website Rant Political, however, puts Wilson among the 15 best presidents and calls him a visionary. If Wilson was not the governor during World War I, after which he proposed 14 peace points and had the idea of the League of Nations, he would be even more forgotten – and certainly I, a Brazilian blogger, would have never heard about him.  

Obviamente, é difícil e polêmico fazer um ranking do pior para o melhor presidente. Há subjetividade, há o saudosismo dos que viveram sob governos passados, há objetividade e uma visão diferente daqueles que governaram há mais de cem anos. Por isso, para investigar a figura de Woodrow Wilson, resolvi levar em conta outra fonte, tão parcial e cheia de defeitos quando uma lista na internet: uma cinebiografia!

Obviously, it is difficult and polemic to rank the presidents from worst to best. There is subjectivity, there is the nostalgia from those who lived during their terms, there is objectivity and a distinct vision from those who study about a president who ran the nation more than 100 years ago. That’s why I chose to investigate Woodrow Wilson using another source of information, as biased and full of defects as a list on the internet: a biopic!
A cinebiografia começa com a mesma pompa e circunstância de um filme sobre a vida de um santo. Um texto diz que, “às vezes, a vida de um homem espelha a vida de uma nação” e coloca Woodrow Wilson no mesmo patamar de dois adorados presidentes: George Washington a Abraham Lincoln.

The biopic starts with the same pomp and circumstance of a biopic of a saint. A text says that, “sometimes, the life of a man mirrors the life of a nation” and puts Woodrow Wilson at the same level of two beloved presidents: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
Em 1909, Woodrow Wilson (Alexander Knox) era apenas o humilde reitor da Universidade de Princeton. Ele reluta em aceitar um convite para concorrer ao cargo de governador de New Jersey, mas acaba convencido a tentar pela esposa e pelas filhas.

In 1909, Woodrow Wilson (Alexander Knox) was just the humble dean of Princeton University. He hesitates to accept an invitation to run for the place of governor of New Jersey, but he makes up his mind thanks to his wife and daughters’ support.

Como governador, ele desafia o poderoso senador Big Ed Jones (Thurston Hall), que foi exatamente o responsável por inserir Wilson na política. Ao impedir que Big Ed se candidatasse à reeleição como senador, Wilson ganha popularidade e se torna um queridinho da mídia – e logo o povo clama que ele seja candidato à presidência.

As a governor, he challenges powerful senator Big Ed Jones (Thurston Hall), exactly the man responsible for the start of his political career. When he impedes Big Ed to run for re-election, Wilson becomes more popular and gains a lot of sympathy from the media – and soon the people start rallying for him to run for president.
Uma vitória heroica sobre o pré-candidato favorito, discursos memoráveis sobre direitos humanos, liberdade, comparações com Abraham Lincoln, a morte da esposa de Wilson, Ellen (Ruth Nelson), uma guerra na Europa: ingredientes perfeitos para pintar Woodrow Wilson como um homem verdadeiramente admirável.

An heroic victory over the favorite pre-candidate, memorable speeches about human rights, freedom, comparisons with Abraham Lincoln, the death of Wilson’s wife, Ellen (Ruth Nelson), a war in Europe: the perfect ingredients to paint Woodrow Wilson as a truly remarkable man.
Como candidato à reeleição, ele precisa calcular as consequências de sua decisão de se casar novamente, desta vez com Edith Bolling Galt (Geraldine Fitzgerald), e também provar que sua estratégia de não envolvimento com a guerra não é um ato de covardia, mas uma tentativa de diplomacia.

As candidate for re-election, he must calculate the consequences of marrying Edith Bolling Galt (Geraldine Fitzgerald), and also prove that his no-war strategy is not a sign of cowardice, but an attempt of being diplomatic.
Obviamente, “Wilson” é um filme feito pontualmente para 1944: com os Estados Unidos envolvidos em outra guerra contra a Alemanha, após outra tentativa de manter distância do conflito. O único projeto pelo qual Wilson lutou intensamente, a Liga das Nações, fracassou e, acreditava-se na época, poderia ter evitado outra guerra.

Obviously, “Wilson” is a film that could only be made in 1944: with the USA involved once again in a war against Germany, right after another attempt to be away from the battlefield. The only project that Wilson was passionate about, the League of Nations, failed, and it was believed at the time that his idea could have prevented another war.
Darryl F. Zanuck acreditava que os Estados Unidos precisavam de outra injeção de ânimo e sua ideia era fazer de “Wilson” seu maior sucesso. Apesar dos cinco Oscars ganhos (Edição, Fotografia a Cores, Direção de Arte, Roteiro Original e Mixagem de Som), o filme foi um fracasso de bilheteria, desapontando inclusive Winston Churchill, que saiu no meio de uma exibição do filme.

Darryl F. Zanuck believed that the United States needed another mood boost and his idea was to make of “Wilson” her greatest success ever. It may have won five Oscars (Editing, Cinematography - Color, Art Direction - Interior Decoration, Sound - Recording, Original Screenplay), but the film was a box office failure and even disappointed Winston Churchill, who left a screening to go to bed.
Wilson é mostrado como um homem simples, caseiro, que gostava de cantar ao lado do piano com sua família, honesto, corajoso, sem ambição, mas movido por um forte senso de justiça, à mesma maneira de “A Mocidade de Lincoln” (1939).

Wilson is shown as a simple man, loving his home, enjoying singing by the piano with his family, an honest, bold, ambitionless less, moved by a strong sense of justice, exactly like in “Young Mr. Lincoln” (1939).

Ele é mostrado como alguém que quer acabar com os privilégios de classes, mas o filme “esquece” de mencionar que Woodrow Wilson era simpatizante da Ku Klux Klan e foi durante seu governo que a segregação racial se fortaleceu. Mas temos aqui uma ajudinha do bom, velho e nem sempre confiável D.W. Griffith para refrescar nossa memória:

He is shown as someone who wants to end class privileges, but the film “forgets” to mention that Woodrow Wilson sympathized with the Ku Klux Klan and it was during his government that racial segregation became stronger. But we have here a little help from good, old, not always reliable D.W. Griffith to refresh our memory:
Sim, no governo de Wilson foi concedido o voto às mulheres, mas ele só apoiou a ideia porque precisava: na verdade, Wilson acreditava que as mulheres poderiam votar em cargos municipais e estaduais, mas não para presidente. E olhe que ironia: após um derrame que o debilitou seriamente, Wilson passou a depender da segunda esposa para governar o país. Sim, era 1919 e quem comandava os Estados Unidos era uma mulher.

Yes, it was during Wilson’s administration that women were allowed to vote, but he only supported the idea because he had no other option: in fact, Wilson believed that women could vote for mayor and governor, but never for president. And look how ironic: after a stroke that left him seriously debilitated, Wilson relied on his second life to rule the country. Yes, it was 1919 and it was a woman who ran the United States.
Wilson and Edith
Alexander Knox se parece muito com Wilson, embora seja muito mais novo que o biografado. Ele passa confiança e seriedade. Gostaria de ter visto mais de Charles Coburn, que interpreta um amigo de Wilson de Princeton, e diz uma ótima frase: “Toda eleição é decepcionante, meu jovem, se você tem o azar de ser eleito”.

Alexander Knox looks a lot with Wilson, although he was much younger than the president when the film was made. He looks trust-worthy and serious. I’d like to have seen more of Charles Coburn, who plays a friend of Wilson’s from Princeton and has this great quote: “Any election is an upset, young man, if you’re unfortunate enough to be elected”.

“Wilson” é um filme bonito de se ver, por ser em cores e ter cenas grandiosas em belos cenários. É, como toda cinebiografia, um exercício de desconfiança, mas tornado ainda maior por ser tão parcial ao retratar um presidente que estava longe de ser santo – ou o segundo Lincoln.

“Wilson” is a feast for the eyes, because it is a color movie with grand scenes in wonderful sets. It is, as any biopic, an exercise in distrust, but made even bigger because it is so biased when trying to portray a president who was not a saint – nor the second Lincoln.

This is my contribution to the Hail-to-the-Chief blogathon, hosted by Robin at Pop Culture Reverie. Now go out and VOTE!

4 comentários:

Caftan Woman disse...

I like Alexander Knox' performance as Wilson. The one-sided script did not give him much to play with, but I think he managed to create as fully rounded a person as possible. Geraldine Fitzgerald, as always, shone.

Interesting choice and a fine article.

Robin Pruter disse...

This is a movie that I've never been able to work up any enthusiasm to watch. I've heard the stories about it being dull and have avoided it. Woodrow Wilson needs a better biopic because he was a very complex historical figure. He needs one that will explore his contradictions.

thoughtsallsorts disse...

Hi Le, I always enjoy reading your posts. And, yes, nothing quite like watching a movie to give us a history lesson. I always enjoy being prodded by these biopic/historical movies - they give the basics in an enjoyable manner and then I can go do my own research if I've been tempted enough. Lovely post!

Quiggy disse...

Being a history major in college has encouraged me to watch a lot of movies based on real events. Have to admit though it is rare that I watch a movie based on the life of a president. I guess it would be good to expand my horizons a little, though. Nice review.

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