The documentary film Expo: The Magic of the White City throws light on the Chicago World’s Fair which took place in 1893. This exposition can be viewed as one of the landmark events in the history of America because it highlighted the technological and economic progress of the country after the Civil War. In turn, this movie enables the audience to learn more about this fair and its implications; nevertheless, the authors do not pay much attention to those people who were marginalized and deprived of opportunity to take an active part in this event. These are the main issues that should be discussed more closely.
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One of the details that can attract attention of the viewers is that the film-makers include many vivid photographs which highlight the magnificence of this exposition. For instance, one can see many neo-classical buildings which were created for this World Fair (EXPO: Magic of the White City). These images show that the planners wanted to create the landscape which could resemble Ancient Rome. However, at the same time, this event demonstrated that America could be the symbol of modernity. In particular, this movie provides interesting details about the work of Tesla, Edison, and Westinghouse who pioneered electrical industry and made its products more accessible (EXPO: Magic of the White City).
To a great extent, they were able to make this exposition more successful. Admittedly, this World Fair cannot be reduced only to technological innovations. Much attention should also be paid to the darker side of this event. For instance, one can speak about the great number of fights which can be explained by the excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. This issue is also explored in this film, and it means that the authors try to be objective while depicting this event.
However, I would like to tell that film-makers do not pay much attention to some issues which strongly influenced America at the end of the nineteenth century. In particular, according to this film, this fair showed that America as well as other countries could overcome the social problems. The key issue is that there were many people who could not fully enjoy this exhibition because of their poverty or race. For instance, one can speak about people who lived in the poor districts of Chicago (Tindall and Shi 633). At the time, when this exposition was organized, these communities were badly affected by excessively high mortality rates (Tindall and Shi 633).
Additionally, one should speak about African Americans who were only employed as low-wage workers. Moreover, they had to face discrimination even during this international event. These questions are not sufficiently discussed by the authors of this film. Certainly, film-makers mention that America had to struggle with various social problems. However, these problems are not examined very closely. This is one of the limitations that should be taken into account. Thus, learners should rely only on this source if they want to get a better idea about this World Fair.
Overall, this movie should certainly be considered by people who want to learn more about the history of the United States during Reconstruction. For instance, one can learn more about technological, commercial and architectural breakthroughs made by citizens of this country. Nevertheless, this documentary does not fully describe social and economic background of this event. In particular, the film-makers do not discuss the lives of people who could be disadvantaged due to poverty or racial discrimination.
EXPO: Magic of the White City. Ex. Prod. Mark Bussler. New York: Inecom, 2005. DVD.
Tindall George, and David Shi. America: A Narrative History Brief Ninth Edition, Volume(s): 2, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2012. Print.