We all love the romantic, hero and villain based iconic 1997 Titanic film with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet; it is difficult to not indulge in it. However, it is important to differentiate the myths and the realities involving the travesty of the sinking of the Titanic. The Titanic Belfast museum (the most interactive and thought provoking museum I’ve ever attended) debunked those myths commonly portrayed through the media over the past century.
The 1997 made Titanic certainly wasn’t the first film about the tragedy, and who knows if it will be the last. I found it compelling comparing how different time periods and different demographics resulted in such contrasting films about the Titanic and different subsequent results..An exhibit in the museum showed that a 1943 Titanic film was pulled from theaters by Nazi censors because it was resulting in “Germans sympathizing the British”. The themes and emotions provoked from most Titanic films have all been touching, but the political circumstances and audience demographic made the results each unique.
The museum had countless interactive elements that all explored truthful elements to the Titanic’s history. However, unlike many United States adaptions of the ship’s history, it did not romanticize the tragedy. Many media pieces romanticize this topic in the United States, whether it be Celine Dion’s touching ballad “My Heart Will Go On” connected to the 1997 James Cameron Titanic, or popularized quotes from the movie such as, “I’ll never let go, Jack!”. American producers and audiences all seem to attach a romantic story to the shipwreck, and care less about the realities of the situation.
I was stunned to see such rich history when we explored castles, which, by the way, were the most aesthetically pleasing buildings and places I’ve ever seen. In America, such historically rich buildings are practically unheard of, especially in comparison to castles originating to the 12th century, like the Belfast Castle proudly does.
In movies and television, I hadn’t seen medieval themes and topics in media emerge into popular culture until a handful of years ago. It was interesting to see castles that mirror the historical themes that TV shows such as Reign, that are set in 16th century Scotland, do. It was breathtaking to imagine how many people had walked through or by that building for almost a thousand years, and just drastically daily life has changed since then. It is humbling to emerge into such dense history that was seemingly just existent on a juicy television show about medieval times when I was in the U.S. on my couch.