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WAR FILMS

by Kenji
When my wife and i were on holiday in Turkey, after walking for miles on a hot day we sat down by the roadside in a layby. A truck pulled up, with a man, a woman and a little girl. The girl ran up to us, gave us some grapes and then ran back and the truck drove off. Too many films- whether through nationalist fervour or inadvertently- glamourise, glorify and effectively promote war. I’ve included a few “Boys’ Own”’ type entertainments (e.g The Great Escape, The Dirty Dozen), some which give mixed messages (eg The Deer Hunter) and some quite patriotic statements (e.g Alexander Nevsky), but hope this list does more to discourage than promote… Read more

When my wife and i were on holiday in Turkey, after walking for miles on a hot day we sat down by the roadside in a layby. A truck pulled up, with a man, a woman and a little girl. The girl ran up to us, gave us some grapes and then ran back and the truck drove off.

Too many films- whether through nationalist fervour or inadvertently- glamourise, glorify and effectively promote war. I’ve included a few “Boys’ Own”’ type entertainments (e.g The Great Escape, The Dirty Dozen), some which give mixed messages (eg The Deer Hunter) and some quite patriotic statements (e.g Alexander Nevsky), but hope this list does more to discourage than promote war. The White Balloon from Iran is not a war film but should serve as an antidote to current warmongers, just as some superb (indigenous) Vietnamese films should be required viewing for those who’ve preferred to dehumanise an enemy.

Along with a few admired films i’ve not seen, I’ve included the Cuban masterpiece Lucia, for the first part of the triptych, and almost hallucinatory scenes of lacerating angst and power (a precursor to the harrowing Come and See).

Recommended:
Hiroshima mon Amour
Casablanca
The Human Condition
When the Tenth Month Comes
Grand Illusion
Tale of Tales
To Be or Not to Be
Duck Soup
Lucia
The World at War
Night of the Shooting Stars
Apocalypse Now
Dr Strangelove
The Battle of Algiers
The Battle of Chile
The Great Escape
The Sorrow and the Pity
Ivan’s Childhood
The Best Years of our Lives
Closely Watched Trains
Red Sorghum
The Peach Thief
Signs of Life
Alexander Nevsky
Army of Shadows
A Man Escaped
Paisan
Paths of Glory
Twenty Four Eyes
Kanal
The English Patient
Lawrence of Arabia
The Big Parade
Forest of the Hanged
The Pianist
Au Revoir les Enfants
The Cranes are Flying
Hearts and Minds
Diamonds of the Night

a selective not comprehensive list

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