Film essay request

Discussion in 'General' started by steelestilo, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. steelestilo

    steelestilo Junior Member

    Hello everybody,

    I hope this is the appropriate place for this request. I am currently writing an essay on the relationship between film and memory, focusing in particular on films such as Saving Private Ryan.

    There is a wealth of information on this subject on the internet but it would be invaluable for me to be able to speak personally to any individuals who were involved in WW2 and are willing to answer a few questions and offer their own opinions.

    Thanks everyone, any response is greatly appreciated.

    Steelestilo

    07/05/2007 PLease check my last post! My essay needs to be in this week so final comments are welcome!
     
  2. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    We have a few WW2 veterans on the forum who live in the UK.

    Film & Memory? Hollywood versions against reality or believed reality?
     
  3. steelestilo

    steelestilo Junior Member

    Hi Spidge,
    Yes Hollywood versions against reality is something I'm exploring, but also whether realism in film is a good thing?
    Whether people believe there are some things that should not be portrayed in film (e.g. the Omaha beach landing)?
    Does film have a positive impact on our memories by increasing awareness, helping us to remember what people sacrificed etc, or should we be leaving these painfull memories alone?

    I'm interested in how anybody may have been affected by films they've seen.
     
  4. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Films? Hollywood? British? USA? I am fortunate in having a very good long term memory. I can recall pictures, events, battles, and assaults, clearly and sharply.
    What is my opinion of the Documentaries and films? What I see is so far removed from the truth, as to be quite laughable. We hear and see about the battles won, when in truth no one has ever told then truth about the different units faced up to......The only thing that I ever saw that was realistic (Just a little to realistic for me) was the first twenty minutes of "saving Private Ryan" The rest was..... "Pure Hollywood" Crap!
    Sapper
     
  5. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Hi Spidge,
    Yes Hollywood versions against reality is something I'm exploring, but also whether realism in film is a good thing?
    Whether people believe there are some things that should not be portrayed in film (e.g. the Omaha beach landing)?
    Does film have a positive impact on our memories by increasing awareness, helping us to remember what people sacrificed etc, or should we be leaving these painfull memories alone?

    I'm interested in how anybody may have been affected by films they've seen.

    How do you differentiate between a real life documentary, such as the first film of the death camps in 1945 and a film production engineered to reflect the same visual horror?

    Why do we accept the former as fact and historically accurate yet we seek to classify or censor a motion picture depiction of the same event?
     
  6. steelestilo

    steelestilo Junior Member

    Hello Sapper, good to hear from you. I'm concentrating mainly on Hollwood films, not documentaries.

    I would love to talk to you about your experiences and your opinions on films if you are willing?
    You said that you felt some films were laughable in their portrayal of truth, but at the same time that Saving Private Ryan was a little too real. Do you think that films should try and stick as closely to the truth as possible?

    As films get more and more graphic and realistic, do you think there is a danger that they might begin to blur the boundaries between reality and theatre?
    I've read stories about veterans getting their memories confused with films they'd seen since the war, do you think this is a genuine danger?

    Steelestilo
     
  7. Kitty

    Kitty Very Senior Member

    This is sounding very socio-psychology to me. Like Southampton? ;)

    Are you just looking at the blurring of boundaries or the effect a realistic film would have upon a veteran? You mention some veterans get their memories confused with films they see, are you wanting to explore this aspect upon the social memory further, or just upon the Veteran social group?
     
  8. steelestilo

    steelestilo Junior Member

    Hello Kitty, wow you really are watching me... How did you know?

    I apologise, I realise I haven't been very clear about what I'm looking for.
    I am interested in anything people may have to offer in terms of how a war film or films may have effected their own, or anybody elses memory with regards to war.
    I am particularly interested in the blurring of boundaries, and how film affects social memory.
    At the moment I am gathering as much information as possible, so as I've said, if you have something you want to contribute then please do!

    Steelestilo
     
  9. CTNana

    CTNana Member Patron

    Hi
    I'm sure that films and books along with all experiences both overtly and subliminally affect our views on all sorts of things. What to me is much more insidious is the blatant misrepresentation of events and the first example which springs to mind is the Enigma File.

    So many people seem to believe that what they have seen in a film just, must, be true!

    I started an OU course a few years ago and part of the course involved things that I had been involved with professionally. Some of the information was as far removed from the truth, as I understood it, and based upon such scanty evidence that I gave up the course.

    I worry about what future generation will make of the events of today and feel that your forum is perhaps serving a greater purpose than you may realise.

    Cheers
    CTNana
     
  10. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Steelestilo

    The most evocative war film I have ever seen was "Paisan", directed by Roberto Rosselini, first released in 1948 and set in Sicily, Naples, Rome & Florence

    I went to see it, around that time, accompanied by my then fiancee, at a small cinema in London's Park Lane, I believe called "The Curzon".

    The film, in Black & White, was so true to the Italy I had recently served in that I was completely and emotionly shattered but I was glad that my future wife was able to see what life was like for those of us who had been involved.

    I would still heartily recommend the film to anyone who has not yet seen it.

    Good luck in your research

    Ron
     
  11. Kitty

    Kitty Very Senior Member

    Hello Kitty, wow you really are watching me... How did you know?

    I apologise, I realise I haven't been very clear about what I'm looking for.
    I am interested in anything people may have to offer in terms of how a war film or films may have effected their own, or anybody elses memory with regards to war.
    I am particularly interested in the blurring of boundaries, and how film affects social memory.
    At the moment I am gathering as much information as possible, so as I've said, if you have something you want to contribute then please do!

    Steelestilo

    I work for the Dark Side. Anyway.....
    Do you just want the veterans (armed forces and civilian) or would you like everyone's opinion?
     
  12. steelestilo

    steelestilo Junior Member

    CTNana,
    I agree with you about the mispresentation of the truth in films. U-571 springs immediately to mind, where an American, rather than a British, crew were portrayed as capturing the Enigma machine.
    Another is the Patriot, which falsely attributed and exagerated atrocities committed by the British.
    Though these films, and I'm sure there are many others like them, are inaccurate, perhaps they would not even exist if these inaccuracies were allowed for? For example, the Americanisation U-571 made it financially viable.
    If this is the case, do you think that an historically inaccurate film is better than no film at all?
     
  13. steelestilo

    steelestilo Junior Member

    Hello Kitty,

    I am especially interested in the veterans' opinions because I have found theirs harder to come by, but I would like everyone's view posted because I'm interested to know what everybody thinks, and I can certainly use the comparisons.
    So far it, appart from maybe one post, it seems that everyone is pretty negative about the films they've seen! I wasn't really expecting that...
     
  14. steelestilo

    steelestilo Junior Member

    Steelestilo

    The most evocative war film I have ever seen was "Paisan", directed by Roberto Rosselini, first released in 1948 and set in Sicily, Naples, Rome & Florence

    I went to see it, around that time, accompanied by my then fiancee, at a small cinema in London's Park Lane, I believe called "The Curzon".

    The film, in Black & White, was so true to the Italy I had recently served in that I was completely and emotionly shattered but I was glad that my future wife was able to see what life was like for those of us who had been involved.

    I would still heartily recommend the film to anyone who has not yet seen it.

    Good luck in your research

    Ron

    Ron Goldstein,

    Thanks for your reply and your recommendation, I will definately try and get hold of "Paisan".
    Memories are impossible to pass on, but would you say that this film helped your future wife to understand the memories you have?

    Steelestilo
     
  15. CTNana

    CTNana Member Patron

    Hi
    Another senior moment, the Enigma one is the one I meant!

    Short answer to your question - I cannot see any point in telling the story if the story is a lie or a gross exaggeration! There are enough versions of the "truth" without adding another dimension in the name of Art (read box office revenue).

    Future historians will use this sort of matter to at best to corroborate other sources and at worst, make assumptions.

    CTNana

    p.s. could add so much more but suffice it to say that one of the films that really got to me was Life is Beautiful.
     
  16. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

  17. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hi I would happy to talk about any subject, if it is of any help. As to the Veterans getting confused between film and reality? It may for some. But not for this old Vet, my mind, and my memory ability is top class. Sharp as a razor. At 82 that must be to the good, though I am very aware that time will diminish the sharpness of recall........BUT not yet!
    Sapper
     
  18. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Steelestilo

    You say:
    Memories are impossible to pass on, but would you say that this film helped your future wife to understand the memories you have?



    You would have to ask her, but remember, we last saw this film 59 years ago !

    Of more relevance has been the fact that my wife and I, together, have visited Cassino, Florence, Rome and Venice, all old wartime stamping grounds of mine and this year d.v. we will be visiting Trieste where I was last stationed over 60 years ago.
     
  19. steelestilo

    steelestilo Junior Member

    Steelestilo

    You say:


    Of more relevance has been the fact that my wife and I, together, have visited Cassino, Florence, Rome and Venice, all old wartime stamping grounds of mine and this year d.v. we will be visiting Trieste where I was last stationed over 60 years ago.

    Ron Goldstein,

    Thanks again for your response, I would just like to ask firstly why you feel its important to visit your past wartime locations?
    And finally whether or not you think that visiting your old stamping grounds evokes more memories for you than maybe if you watched "Paisan" again?
    After all, Italy must have changed a lot in 60 years, whereas the film will remain the same...

    Steelestilo
     
  20. steelestilo

    steelestilo Junior Member

    Hi I would happy to talk about any subject, if it is of any help. As to the Veterans getting confused between film and reality? It may for some. But not for this old Vet, my mind, and my memory ability is top class. Sharp as a razor. At 82 that must be to the good, though I am very aware that time will diminish the sharpness of recall........BUT not yet!
    Sapper

    Hello Sapper, I must say I am extremely glad to ba able to talk to such a reliable witness! I don't think I'm even as confident in my own memory!!

    You've already said that you are less than impressed with the Holywood representations of war, can I ask what you feel should be done?
    Perhaps, as you've said, the truth of what you went through can never really be told, so do you think that films should stop trying?

    Finally, I'd like to ask the same question I put before another member; Is an inaccurate film of an event better than no film at all?
    I now study history, but films that I now realise are quite flawed did much to encourage my desire to pursue the subject, surely that is better than nothing?

    Thanks again
    Steelestilo
     

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