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Gone With The Wind will return to HBO Max with "historical context" introduction

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Gone With The Wind will return to HBO Max with a full introduction to provide “historical context” surrounding the controversial movie.

The 1939 Oscar winning epic is considered an early classic of cinema, but it has proved controversial for its unabashed portrayal of Confederacy and slavery on a Southern plantation.

It was removed from the streaming platform last week after coming under criticism for romanticising slavery, but HBO said it would return with a full “discussion of its historical context”.

It has now been confirmed that future airings of the film will start with an introduction from Jacqueline Stewart, a professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago who will explain the “historical context” of the movie.

“Still the highest-grossing film in history when adjusted for inflation, Gone with the Wind continues to have a profound impact on the ways mainstream audiences visualize the antebellum South and the Reconstruction period that followed the Civil War,” Stewart wrote in a comment piece on CNN.

“Moreover, the classic films we showcase on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) have played a major role in perpetuating the racist beliefs that devalue Black lives and normalize the use of excessive force against Black people.”

She added: “Right now, people are turning to movies for racial re-education, and the top-selling books on Amazon are about anti-racism and racial inequality,’ she said.
“If people are really doing their homework, we may be poised to have our most informed, honest and productive national conversations yet about Black lives on screen and off.”

The film, which starred Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, was removed after an LA Times op-ed from Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave screenwriter John Ridley slammed it as “a film that glorifies the antebellum south. It is a film that, when it is not ignoring the horrors of slavery, pauses only to perpetuate some of the most painful stereotypes of people of color.”

Spike Lee also included clips from Gone With The Wind in BlackKklansman, his powerful 2018 dissection of the Ku Klux Klan.

Discussions about race have come to the fore in the wake of George Floyd’s death last month.

Floyd, who was African American, died in Minneapolis on May 25 when white police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck.

Chauvin has since been sacked and charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Three of his colleagues, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Keung, are now all facing charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder, and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

His death has sparked a series of Black Lives Matter protests across the globe.

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