Tsunami: The Aftermath
December 6, 2006 5:58 PM   Subscribe

HBO and BBC2 present Tsunami: The Aftermath, their controversial dramatization of the disaster, shot in an area of Thailand devastated by the waves and featuring reluctant and poorly-paid survivors. Is it "too soon"?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know if it is too soon, but I won't be watching. I am a big HBO and BBC fan, but for me, it's too emotional and painful. I lived and breathed the tsunami coverage and read about it for weeks on end in the papers, news magazines, and internet. I am embarrassed to admit that I was almost obsessed and was deeply saddened over the tsunami tragedy. I didn't personally know of anybody affected, nor did I ever visit that part of the world, but I was terribly sad and emotional. Maybe it was the media coverage, maybe it was the blonde-headed kids from Sweden that looked like mine. Who knows. It's the same with 9/11. I won't re-watch Semptember 11 coverage or movies. I did watch a couple Frontline documentaries that I could tolerate, but mostly I obstain. I won't watch Hotel Rwanda. I already know of the atrocities. These stories deserve to told, they must be known, but I won't torture myself with watching a dramatization.
posted by LoriFLA at 6:31 PM on December 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

this is getting too ridiculous, the next step is creating disasters to generate revenue, but money talks , and if you need to feed your family sometimes the only way is to entertain insolent westerners....
posted by shady milkman at 6:33 PM on December 6, 2006

I don't know if I really believe in the whole idea of "too soon"... I mean, if not now, when? In 10 years, when much of the impact has been lost? One of the ways to deal with tragedy and understand it is to represent it, to narrativize it. There's always the need to return and refine as we learn more, but if we are dealing with something now, now is also the time to try to understand it. But still, I won't be watching either. Mainly because the trailers make this look like "Courageous white people save helpless little brown people." I don't know if that's the way the show will be, but the trailers haven't done their job of selling me on this.
posted by papakwanz at 6:59 PM on December 6, 2006

Was the Katrina Documentary too soon? Nah. Not this either
posted by Rubbstone at 7:10 PM on December 6, 2006

I saw part 1 on BBC last week but missed part 2 this week.

True to BBC standard, this was a well produced and encapsulating drama, perhaps not violent enough to remind people of what really happened.

Papakwanz, you're wrong. In the 1st part, one of the main characters is a local accidentally arrested while trying to save his friends. Essentially the programme is trying to show the chaos of the event. Perhaps not as well as I'd like but it does a decent job.
posted by movilla at 7:20 PM on December 6, 2006

posted by wfrgms at 7:44 PM on December 6, 2006

wfrgms, I am going. To hell. For laughing. At that.
posted by portisfreak at 9:19 PM on December 6, 2006

Instead of "too soon?", wouldn't it be better to ask "why?"

I mean, does everything have to have a made-for-tv dramatisation? Does anything? Are we culturally incapable of remembering and/or respecting anything that hasn't been on a TV or movie screen?

Interesting questions, particularly when you consider how distorted (or even totally inaccurate!) these things always are...
posted by Pinback at 12:14 AM on December 7, 2006

> One of the ways to deal with tragedy and understand it is to represent it,
> to narrativize it.

Are undamaged bystanders like the BBC and its audience the ones who have to "deal" with the tragedy? No. If the actual survivors, who lost homes and families, need to memorialize the event, that's one thing. This is quite another, and a large part of me thinks it's pretty smarmy--a lot like those news photogs who run up to the bleeding survivors of a car crash and shove a camera in their faces whille they're still screaming over the newly dead. I've always thought such photogs could appropriately be staked down on an anthill (with a webcam, of course, for documentary purposes.)
posted by jfuller at 4:28 AM on December 7, 2006

Ah the fair and balanced journalism of two or three personalized anecdotes opposed by a generic group of "lots". Clearly, anecdotes win the day and set off a round of victimology debates about who gets to do what regarding which tragedy when.

I didn't think the show was great. It may not have been tasteful either. But the self-appointed priesthood of sensitivity that wishes to regulate when and how difficult topics should be handled in order to protect everyone from possibly confronting harsh realities can piss off. I am not yet emotionally prepared to live in the fully sensitive and therapeutically regulated environment they want to create for me. Nor do I wish to live in a world where I have to check someones credentials to determine if they are the appropriate victim to handle a story.

Are undamaged bystanders like the BBC and its audience the ones who have to "deal" with the tragedy?

Your victim classification system has failed to factor in the number of brits who died in the tsunami and aftermath. Roughly 150 or so. That may well fall short of the required death support level mandated for a BBC tragidocumentary but I don't have the recently updated BBC standards handy.
posted by srboisvert at 4:58 AM on December 7, 2006

stake... on ... me... (stake me on)
posted by anthill at 6:55 AM on December 7, 2006

It's interesting to compare the volume of objection to the docu-drama in the "United 93" thread (linked above) with the relative silence in here. Wonder what happened to all those righteous commenters slamming the 9/11 movie -- they seem to have forgotten their principles when it's poor people on the other side of the planet having their tragedy filmed.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:05 AM on December 7, 2006

jfuller: apparently LoriFLA feels that he/she has to deal with the tragedy.
posted by papakwanz at 9:53 AM on December 7, 2006

Well I lied. I watched some of part one, and it wasn't too bad. Very sad for sure, but not too terribly gut-wrenching.
posted by LoriFLA at 6:39 AM on December 11, 2006

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