Film essay request

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

  1. steelestilo

    steelestilo Junior Member

    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.

    Thanks CTNana,

    Do you think then that extremely realistic films such as Saving Private Ryan are acceptable then?
    Calls to a Post Traumatic Stress helpline went through the roof after veterans went to see this movie, perhaps more "harmless" movies such as "U-571" can be safer in promoting awareness of the past, despite their short-comings?

    Steelestilo
     
  2. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Steelestilo

    1. I would just like to ask firstly why you feel its important to visit your past wartime locations?
    2. 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?
    3. After all, Italy must have changed a lot in 60 years, whereas the film will remain the same...



    Answers:
    1. You would have to be of my age (83) to understand why I should want to return to the places where I witnessed history being made.

    2. A film, at the end of the day, is simply another form of the visual arts and to compare it with the experience of re-visiting a former wartime site is like comparing the proverbial chalk & cheese.

    3. On my return from Trieste & Venice I will post some "then & now" snaps to demonstrate that Italy has not changed all that much.
     
  3. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Steelestilo

    You say:


    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.

    No God willing about it. You'll be there!
     
  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Do you think then that extremely realistic films such as Saving Private Ryan are acceptable then?
    Calls to a Post Traumatic Stress helpline went through the roof after veterans went to see this movie, perhaps more "harmless" movies such as "U-571" can be safer in promoting awareness of the past, despite their short-comings?
    I have no problem whatever with extreme realism, see Elim Klimov's 'Come & See' for my preferred example. You can't always hide the worst excesses of war, particularly in a form like film where the artistic force and historical/political merit (perhaps even educational value) can be strongly enhanced by such grim scenes.

    However I also have no problem with films made for pure entertainment, There's nothing wrong with the willing suspension of disbelief for the sake of enjoyment. As long as the film isn't presented as factual, as much of the marketing of U571 purported it to be. The difficulty seems to lie in the film industry's need to appeal to a wide spectrum of interests, but primarily to the lowest common denominator that just wants a good time or some sort of shock value for a couple of hours.

    As for us lot being surprisingly negative of the detail of many things in war films, that's not that surprising when you consider our primary interest & presence on this forum... everyone likes to niggle over their own favourite subject.
    Excluding the veterans, we are, on the whole, quite a nerdish sample. ;)

    I still can't handle those M47's in 'Battle of the Bulge'...

    Cheers,
    Adam.
     
  5. steelestilo

    steelestilo Junior Member

    Ron Goldstein,

    I will look forward to seeing those photos, thanks for your help on this subject it is greatly appreciated, I hope you enjoy your visit to Trieste & Venice.
    I found what you said about watching a film and actually visiting a former wartime site very interesting, because though I agree they are very different, I wonder if as time draws on physical experiences will not appear so far removed from the visual experience of the cinema.
    As always please contribute anything else you wish to.

    Steelestilo
     
  6. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Films? They are commercial productions created to make money, and lots of it for their creators. No film maker is much concerned with an item by the name of "truth" their only real interest is how much lolly it will bring in.

    There is also one great drawback to depicting real events in "films" and that is: the very simple need to make a Picture that the viewer wants to see. That then ensures that the film will be tilted towards the American market.
    To do that they must make their own men look "Heroic" The easiest way to achieve that is to make other Nations look a bit "eccentric" or to treat with faint praise.....And that is exactly what does happen in films....We cannot blame the filmmaker, he is out to make money and as much as possible. He certainly does not intend to tell the truth..Good Lord No.
    Its the Money and nothing else.

    Let me gave an example. Nowhere on the Normandy invasion coast were there so many strong defences against the invaders. And in depth. Than on Sword Beach. How many folk know that? Time and again I have heard the Sword Beach landings as "An easy landing" "Utter rubbish"

    Sword Beach was taken by the sacrifices of the men that landed there and by the fortitude and stubborn courage of the British Troops. Many that gave their lives swimming amongst the beach defences when the tide came up due to the wind.

    How many folk know that of the 38 Assault landing Craft, 29 were lost ?
    All we ever hear about is the courage of the Americans...I did not see much courage on Omaha. I saw men that took hours to get up through the defences. When they should have been there first. I believe it was a Colonel that said only dead men are on this beach.....Or something like that. That served to get them going but only after a slaughter.

    Is there something to be ashamed of...Not a bit of it... Green troops suddenly subjected to the drenching fire, can quickly lose drive and faith in their objectives...
    I know I have been there. One has to know real mind boggling fear to appreciate just how difficult it is to fight against "Self Preservation"

    So Now the Hollywood version of D Day and the battle of Normandy has become the accepted legend. When in fact it is only in spitting distance of the real course of events.
    Sapper
     
  7. CTNana

    CTNana Member Patron

    Hi ref Post 21
    Have to confess that I am really quite ambivalent about the issue of realism. I don't have to see blow by blow accounts of, for example what is happening in the bedroom, to know that when they head in that direction, removing their clothes, they are not likely to be playing Bridge. I hate seeing violence and would probably turn away and yet I know that I have absolutely no conception of true fear or pain. So do I turn away from whatever my mind thinks I am not going to enjoy?
    I think Van Poop's distinction between entertainment and suspension of belief, and the deliberate misrepresentation of events for commercial appeal is where I would draw the line.
    Cheers
    CTNana
     
  8. steelestilo

    steelestilo Junior Member

    However I also have no problem with films made for pure entertainment, There's nothing wrong with the willing suspension of disbelief for the sake of enjoyment. As long as the film isn't presented as factual, as much of the marketing of U571 purported it to be. The difficulty seems to lie in the film industry's need to appeal to a wide spectrum of interests, but primarily to the lowest common denominator that just wants a good time or some sort of shock value for a couple of hours.
    Cheers,
    Adam.

    Hi Von Poop,
    I agree with you in some respects, entertainment is obviously always going to be the main aim of the film directors. But as I have grown up watching war films, I feel in many respects I have been provided with memories of events I have never witnessed. This might sound strange, but if someone was to mention WW2, I immediately remember images of fighting, tanks etc, which I have seen in films.
    Perhaps for the older viewer this is not the case, but whether a film claims it is based on fact or otherwise, I am very suspicious of its power to convince the ignorant that fiction is fact.
    The use of films as propoganda is proof enough of this.
    Have the films directors no responsibility to present the truth?

    I am also saddened that there is money to be made from exploiting times of great suffering without any regard for the truth.
    I know that I would be horrified to find that a film of my life was made, and that I was presented as an American because this would sell more cinema tickets.

    Steelestilo
     
  9. steelestilo

    steelestilo Junior Member

    Sapper,

    Did you fight on Omaha Beach?! I've never spoken to anyone who has...
    I agree that film versions of events are becoming the accepted legend, perhaps this is inevitable as living memory slowly dissipates.
    Your cynicism is infectious, but I feel I must say something in defence of these films, lest the debate is killed off!
    I've been researching as much as possible online, and what I've found in the majority of cases is that many people hold entirely different views about war films.
    One of the predominant views is that these films encourage veterans to tell their stories, to open up to those who have no idea what they lived through.
    Is this not a positive thing?
    This website is brilliant for exactly that purpose, and I'm really glad to see so many people interested and involved in the telling of the past.

    Steelestilo
     
  10. steelestilo

    steelestilo Junior Member

    Hi everyone,
    My essay is due in this week and so if anybody has anything else they'd like to contribute then please do so a.s.a.p.
    I'd be interested to know what you guys think about the idea of film providing memories, and finally, plain and simply; do you think films have a positive effect on memory?
    Even just a yes or no would be great. Thanks for all your comments, they've been massively helpful.

    Steelestilo
     
  11. Kitty

    Kitty Very Senior Member

    A film can have a positive effect in terms of getting veterans to open up, but there is the fine line where a film can cross over into total fiction. yes, adjust a few things to make a good film, but rewriting history as U571 did is deplorable.
    But working it so a good narrative of the battle/action is to be applauded as Band of Brothers did. or the earlier works like Dambusters. That was heavily worked as much of the information was still classified at the time, but even now when we know everything, it still stands up to historical scrutiny.
    Its a matter of persepctive. Tell the truth with a twist by all mean as a way to teach, but do not corrupt.
    As to Sapper, he fought from Sword up through Normandy and Holland as a Sapper. An amazing chap is our Sapper. :D
     
  12. steelestilo

    steelestilo Junior Member

    Thanks Kitty : ) I think everyone on this site is amazing! Keep the material flooding in!!

    I feel you find a healthy balance... but!

    Does anyone think that memories of war are enough, and that films are unnecessary reminders? Why, for example, is it much more "difficult" (some might even suggest "taboo") to talk about, or make films about, Auschwitz? Is it because we don't want to remember?

    Steelestilo
     
  13. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    Thanks Kitty : ) I think everyone on this site is amazing! Keep the material flooding in!!

    I feel you find a healthy balance... but!

    Does anyone think that memories of war are enough, and that films are unnecessary reminders? Why, for example, is it much more "difficult" (some might even suggest "taboo") to talk about, or make films about, Auschwitz? Is it because we don't want to remember?

    Steelestilo

    To joe public the holocaust is something best forgotten. Whereas most people on this site would like to see a good film on the subject - even schilnders list had its moments which were not true
     
  14. steelestilo

    steelestilo Junior Member

    To joe public the holocaust is something best forgotten. Whereas most people on this site would like to see a good film on the subject - even schilnders list had its moments which were not true

    Hi morse1001, good to hear from you,

    Do you think that you cannot learn from events like the Holocaust? Displaying what happened on film in an effective manner might be enough to stop it ever happening again? A kind of deterrent?
    But then again, we cannot do what we cannot imagine, so perhaps striking it from our memory is the best thing?

    Steelestilo
     
  15. steelestilo

    steelestilo Junior Member

    I just remembered an excellent book (or graphic novel) I've read, called "Maus", I imagine some of you must have heard about it. Does anyone think that a film version of that book would be acceptable?

    Steelestilo
     
  16. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    A film/animated version would possibly be acceptable, but why bother when both books are just about perfect in their original medium ;).
     
  17. steelestilo

    steelestilo Junior Member

    Perhaps, but I think it would be very interesting to see the animations actually animated, and I imagine it would cause a massive amount of discussion about what is worth showing, and what is not.

    Steelestilo
     
  18. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    Don't forget that the impact of animation is cultural - Europe has a greater tradition of using it for adult themes than Britain and America. And it wouldn't just be a question of what is worth showing or not, but the actual format of presentation. We've learn't to view cartoons as entertainment - wouldn't the impact of the content and message be lost?
     
  19. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    My fear with Maus is that it'd either be made as a 'standard' animation, which would be rather dull in comparison, (and I just can't see Spiegelman approving of (if he's still alive?)); Or as an overly arty live action film with the pig/sheep/mouse/dog/cat metaphor carried out with masks. Neither could have the emotional impact of the Originals' digressions and the family references would have to be narrated, they work so well in the book but could be a little forced in another form.
     
  20. steelestilo

    steelestilo Junior Member

    Kyt,

    I'm not sure I agree, I think a film following the exact story and style of "Maus" would make an excellent film. I remember film's like "Watership Down" and the animated version of "Macbeth", both of which were very serious and had quite a deep impact one me.

    Steelestilo
     

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