Amistad: Meaning

The first time I watched Amistad was for this course. The only previous knowledge I had about the film was the infamous line “Give Us Free”. The first time I heard this phrase was though a joke. Thus, the film’s content surprised me. I was not aware of how vivid most of the scenes were; I wasn’t aware of how historical it was. I also did not expect for the movie to appear that real. The contrast between how I felt when I heard the joke about the phrase in the movie and how I felt when I watched the entire movie relates to our discussion on how knowledge is framed. I entered the film with a comic perspective. As I watched the film, I became more aware of the gravity of the film. The naked bodies, bruises, water, wooden ships, bitter men/women, crying children, and pale faces all structured my knowledge far more than the joke about the “Give Us Free” phrase. My knowledge was framed by a combination of the visual and the oral, and the film garnered more meaning with both the visual and oral present. This observation made me realize how many factors frame knowledge and when one is absent, (in my case the visual), there is no meaning.


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