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Forums  >  Film-making  >  Inaccuracies in "Yes"
Author Post
at 14:29, 6 Feb 2006
Posts: 3
Inaccuracies in "Yes"
Dear Sally, in the film "Yes" there were parts of the film that I felt were inaccurate. There was a scene where the man is breaking up with the woman in a parking garage and he says that she knows nothing of his culture. His exact words are "did you know that Algebra is an Arabic man?" Or at least that is what I heard. To make sure, I turned on the French captions and it said "l'Algebre est un Arabe", which of course means "Algebra is an Arab." So I was wondering what did that mean? Obviously, Algebra is not a man. If he had said a man's name, he could not have said "an Arabic man". Plus, Algebra was developed by Persian subjects under Arab rulers.
Please reply to me about this scene. I am very conscious of how film and the media influence public opinion, and innaccuracies sometimes damage perception. Thank you.
Brian Young
at 12:21, 7 Mar 2006
Posts: 28
historical accuracy
It is true that algebra is often considered to be Arabic in origin, and we do call our numbers “Arabic Numerals” (though I can imagine that bush et al might like to change that). However, it is not quite accurate to say that it was “developed” by anyone. The development of algebra can be traced back at least three thousand years. It is true that the Persian mathematician Al-Khwarizmi is often referred to as the “father” of algebra. I believe that the original text, “al-jabr wa-al-muqabilah”, was written in 820, and probably in Arabic. The title means “reunion & balancing” or in modern terms, moving terms, and subtraction. These operations are known to any high school student today.
So, although saying that Algebra was an Arabic man might not be accurate, it can hardly be construed as a serious lapse, and certainly has no impact on the story told in YES. I recognized, in a very obscure corner of my mind, that the statement made there in the car-park scene was not totally accurate. But it seemed so inconsequential that I didn’t think it was worth recalling. I do not think it will, or should, have any influence on how this story is felt in the heart and mind of those who see it.
Brian Young
sally potter
at 14:46, 7 Mar 2006
Posts: 193
i will join in this thread when i have had a chance to look up my original notes and researches, but i can say right away that the subtitle translation you mention is inaccurate.
at 17:51, 15 Feb 2007
Posts: 2
Al Jabra WAS a real man!
The Film is accurate.
Al Jabra was a brilliant Arabic mathematician who created....
you guessed it....
the principles of 'Aljebra'!
It shoudl be in I would think or at least in Google.
sally potter
at 03:59, 1 Mar 2007
Posts: 193
Yes. It was on my travels in Uzbekhistan when searching for locations for Orlando that I was first alerted to the Arabic origins of mathematics and the existence of this man in particular.
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